Former governor of Abia state and Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, has claimed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) lacked legal grounds to proceed with his retrial on alleged money laundering charges.
Senator Kalu in a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja challenging the retrial maintained the Supreme Court never ordered such action.
His counsel, Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN), argued that in the absence of any extant judgment or order of a competent court mandating his trial de novo (afresh), the EFCC needs to be stopped.
The Federal High Court Abuja, has already fixed September 20 for judgment in the suit challenging his retrial, while counsel to the applicant, Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN), George Ukaegbu, counsel to Udeh Jones (2nd respondent) and Chief Chris Uche (SAN) for Slok Nigeria Ltd had respectively urged the court to grant the application. On the other hand, the EFCC (1st respondent), through its counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) on the other hand, urged the court to dismiss it.
In his adumbration, Prof. Kalu said that there was no disagreement to the effect than the former governor stood trial for 12 years, was sentenced to 10 years and spent over five months at the correctional center.
He cited Section 36 (9) of the 1999 constitution which stipulates that no Nigerian shall be subjected to double jeopardy.
Prof. Kalu insisted that the former governor having served a period of jail term would be subjected to double jeopardy if allowed by the court to be put on trial for the second time.
Orji Kalu’s counsel produced and read the Supreme Court judgment upon which the former governor was released after five months in prison.
He added that there was no where in the judgment where the apex court made an order for his retrial.
He challenged the EFCC to point out to court where an order for retrial was made against the former governor.
Counsel to the EFCC, Jacobs asked the court to dismiss the application, which he described as unusual and strange.
Jacobs described Kalu’s suit as approbating and reprobating at the same time, frivolous, irritating and sought for its dismissal with an order that Kalu should face retrial.
He also submitted that the application of the former governor was an abuse of court process, which the court should not tolerate.
Ukaegbu, on behalf of his client, the 2nd respondent, told the court to discountenance the Commission’s submissions.
He added that the only way the submissions of the anti-graft agency would be valid would be if there was an order from a superior court for a retrial.
Uche, counsel to Slok Nig. Ltd (3rd respondent) told the court that the former governor had satisfied the necessary requirements for the court to grant his application.
He emphasised the fact that the only reason a retrial would be valid was when the prosecution provided any evidence of an order of a superior court for the retrial of the former governor.
The senior lawyer prayed the court to favourably consider the application of the applicant and grant his prayers.