COURT FIXES JULY 2 FOR ORJI KALU’S CASE AGAINST RETRIAL

Sen. Orji Kalu and Buhari

Sen. Orji Kalu and President Muhammadu Buhari

The Federal High Court, Abuja, has fixed July 2 to adopt all processes filed by parties in a suit by former Abia Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, seeking to stop his retrial.

After defecting to the ruling APC, Mr Kalu has become a staunch ally and promoter of President Muhammadu Buhari, whose regime pledged to rid Nigeria of corrupt individuals, especially politically exposed persons.

The court had in February granted Mr Kalu leave to challenge the legality of the retrial.

At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, counsel to the former governor, Awa Kalu, told the court that the respondents had served him their counter-affidavits.

Responding, counsel to the first respondent (the EFCC) Oluwaleke Atolagbe, the second respondent, George Ukaegbu and the third respondent, K.C Nwufor, all admitted having filed and exchanged processes.

In a short ruling, the judge, Inyang Ekwo, said since all parties had “joined issues,” the court had taken over control of the case.

Mr Ekwo adjourned the matter until July 2 for adoption.

Mr Kalu, a senator representing Abia North, is seeking an order of the court prohibiting the EFCC from retrying him over a N7.1 billion money laundering charge against him.

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

The former governor had also applied for an order prohibiting the EFCC from retrying, harassing and intimidating him concerning the charge or any other charge based on the same facts.