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‘N7.1bn fraud’: Court fixes July 13 to hear suit to stop Orji Kalu’s retrial

‘N7.1bn fraud’: Court fixes July 13 to hear suit to stop Orji Kalu’s retrial
June 21
16:55 2021

A federal high court in Abuja has fixed July 13 to hear an application by Slok Limited, a company belonging to Orji Kalu, former Abia state governor, seeking to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from the retrial of a N7.1 billion fraud case.

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Inyang Ekwo, the presiding judge, who fixed the date for the suit in a ruling on Monday, also gave Marvel Akpoyibo, the company’s counsel, seven days to serve his processes on the respondents.

The EFCC had preferred a 36-count charge against Kalu, Ude Jones Udeogu, a former director of finance and accounts in Abia state, and Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited.

While the former governor bagged 12 years imprisonment, Udeogu was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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The third defendant, Slok Nigeria Limited, was ordered to be wound up and its assets forfeited to the Nigerian government.

But on May 8, 2020, the supreme court, in a unanimous decision of its seven-member panel, nullified the conviction and ordered a retrial following an appeal by Kalu’s co-defendant.

The apex court ruled and held that the trial was a nullity on the grounds that Mohammed Idris, the trial judge, had been elevated to the court of appeal and no longer a judge of the federal high court as of the time he concluded the trial and handed down his verdict.

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Akpoyibo, in an application on Monday, told the presiding judge that he had a motion seeking “an order of prohibition prohibiting the federal republic of through the EFCC, her agents, her officers, servants, privies and any other person or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria from retrying the applicant on charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/07 or any other charge based on the same facts”.

In the applicant’s processes, the company claimed that the apex court had voided the matter and “did not order its retrial”.

The company also alleged that they were being embarrassed and harassed by the EFCC.

Kalu is also seeking prohibition of the retrial in a separate suit.

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