Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, former Abia governor and current Chief Whip of the Senate on Tuesday, asked the Federal High Court, Abuja, to prohibit the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from retrying him. Kalu asked the court to stop the retrial of the alleged N7.1b theft charge.
Kalu wants the court to prohibit the anti-graft agency from retrying him on the same alleged money laundering charges the agency had tried him on, which he was eventually convicted and sentences to prison for 12 years.
In a motion ex parte moved before Justice Inyang Ekwo, Kalu, contented that having been tried, convicted and sentenced on the same charge FHC/ABJ/CR/56/ 2007, by the court, it would amount to double jeopardy if he was subjected to a fresh trial on the same charge.
In the motion, which was moved by his counsel, Prof. Awa Kalu, SAN, Kalu asked for an order prohibiting the Federal Government, through the EFCC from retrying him.
“An order granting leave to the applicant to apply for an or of prohibition, prohibiting the Federal Government, the EFCC, (her agent), her officers, servants, others, agents, privies and any other person or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Government, from retrying him on charge No.FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 between FRN vs Orji Uzor Kalu & two others 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.
“An order prohibiting the Federal Government, through the EFCC (her agent), her officers, servants, others, agents, privies and any other person or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Government, from retrying, harassing and intimidating him with respect to the charge as concerns charge 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’s prayer to stop the retrial followed the EFCC’s plan to rearraign him following the Supreme Court ruling that nullified the earlier trial before Justice Mohammed Idris formerly of the Federal High Court.
The former Abia governor further asked that his application if granted, should operate as a stay of proceedings until the determination of the application or until the judge orders otherwise.
Justice Ekwo adjourned hearing of the ex parte motion until Feb.8.
Meanwhile, the arraignment of the senator, which was slated for Tuesday, was stalled owing to an application by the EFCC for a transfer of the trial from Abuja to the Lagos division of the court.
Although the EFCC, through its counsel, Mr Chile Okoroma sought for an indefinite adjournment, the judge fixed June 7 for parties to report on the matter. (NAN)