The Federal High Court has barred the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from retrying Ex-Governor of Abia State and Senator, Orji Uzor Kalu.
The Judge of the Federal High court, Justice Inyang Ekwo, gave the order while delivering judgment in an application filed by Kalu seeking an order of the court prohibiting the anti-graft agency from retrying him on a charge for which he had already been tried and convicted.
Justice Ekwo said, “An order is hereby made prohibiting the Federal Government through the EFCC from retrying the applicant (Kalu) on charge no. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 since there was no order in the judgment of the Supreme Court for the retrial of Kalu.
The Former Governor was earlier found guilty and handed a 12-year jail term by the Lagos Division of the court.
The trial court convicted the senator representing Abia North, alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and a former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu, for alleged N7.1 billion fraud from the state treasury.
But the Supreme Court, in its judgment on the 8th of May, quashed the conviction and ordered a retrial of the defendants by the EFCC.
In a unanimous decision by a seven-member panel of Justices, the Supreme Court, nullified the entire proceedings that led to Kalu’s conviction, stressing that the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, was already elevated to the Court of Appeal, as at the time he sat and delivered a judgement against the defendants.
It noted that Justice Idris was no longer a judge of the Federal High Court as at Dec. 5, 2019, the day the former governor and his co-defendants were found guilty of the money laundering charge against them.
According to the Supreme Court, Justice Idris, having been elevated to the Court of Appeal before then, lacked the powers to return to sit as a High Court Judge.