N7.1bn fraud: Court halts Kalu’s re-trial, says suit ‘ double tradgedy’

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Friday Olokor, Abuja

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday stopped the re-arraignnment of a former Abia State governor,  Orji Kalu, in an alleged N7.1bn money laundering charges.

According to him, the trial should be put on hold pending the resolution of the legality of the charges of retrial against him.

Delivering his ruling in an ex-parte application, he also granted leave to the senator representing Abia North, to challenge the legality of the retrial in the same charges.

The Judge agreed that Kalu who is Senate Chief Whip had placed sufficient materials of value to enable him secure permission of court for judicial review of his retrial in charges in which he had been tried, convicted and spent some months at Kuje prison in Abuja.

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Justice Ekwo also granted Kalu permission to apply for order of perpetual injunction against the Federal Government through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to prohibit his retrial so as not to be made to suffer double jeopardy.

The judge gave Kalu seven days within which to file and serve on EFCC all processes he intended to use to challenge the legality of the trial.

The Court consequently fixed February 23 2021 for mention into the matter.

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Recall  that Kalu had asked the court to prohibit the EFCC from retrying him on the same alleged N7.1bn money laundering charges against him.

In the  ex-parte motion moved before Justice  Ekwo last Tuesday by his counsel, Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN),  Senator Kalu pleaded with the court to rescue him from suffering  double jeopardy

He further sought for an order of court  prohibiting the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through the EFCC, its officers, servants, others, agents, privies and any other person or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from retrying him on charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 between FRN vs Orji Kalu & 2 ors or any other charge based on the same facts de novo, there being no extant judgment and ruling of a competent court in Nigeria mandating same.

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Kalu further asked that if his application is 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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