ICYMI: Drama as EFCC re-arraigns Kalu on N70bn fraud charges

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Friday Olokor, Abuja

A former governor of  Abia State and Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu on Tuesday asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from prosecuting him on the same offence of allegedly laundering N7.1 billion.

According to him, having been tried once by EFCC, convicted and sentenced in the same charges FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007, it would amount to double jeopardy for him if subjected to a fresh trial on same charge.

Kaku in an ex-parte motion moved before Justice Inyang Ekwo by his counsel, Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN), pleaded with the court to rescue him from double jeopardy.

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The politician further sought for an order of court stopping the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through the EFCC, its officers, servants, others, agents, privies and any other person or bodies from retrying him in the case with charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007.

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The ex-governor also applied for an order prohibiting the EFCC and other agencies of government from retrying, harassing and intimidating him with respect to the charge with Ref. No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 between FRN Vs Orji Kalu and two others or any other charge based on same facts as he need not suffer double jeopardy.

Kalu further asked that should his application be granted, it should operate as a stay of proceedings until the determination of the application or until the Judge otherwise orders.

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Meanwhile, his arraignment slated for Tuesday was suspended as EFCC applied that his trial be transferred from Abuja to the Lagos Division of the FHC.

When the matter came up, the prosecution counsel, Chile Okoroma told Justice Ekwo that the EFCC had written two letters to the Chief Judge seeking for the movement of the trial to Lagos in compliance with a Supreme Court judgment.

While insisting that prosecuting Kalu in Abuja would amount to an exercise in futility and disobedience to Supreme Court order, the EFCC sought for an order that would ensure his arraignment at any time to allow the transfer of the case to Lagos, based on the letters to the Chief Judge of the Court.

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But Justice Ekwo declined to grant indefinite adjournment and fixed June 7, 2021 for report of the Chief Judge on the transfer request.

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