Wednesday, September 29, 2021 9:46 pm
Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has said it will appeal Wednesday’s ruling of Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court stopping it from retrying a former governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu
Kalu was serving a 12-year jail term for N7.1billion fraud when the Supreme Court, ruling on an appeal by Kalu’s co-defendant, Ude Udeogu, on 8 May 2020, nullified the proceedings leading to their conviction.
The Supreme Court had ordered a retrial at the Federal High Court. But kalu who profited from the ruling to secure release from Kuje Correctional Centre, filed an application before the Federal High Court in Abuja to stop his retrial.
Ruling on the application today September 29, 2021, Justice Ekwo, granted the ex-governor’s request on the grounds that the apex court’s judgment did not order the retrial of Kalu and that by virtue of Section 36 (9) of the 1999 constitution as amended, or Section 283 (2) of the ACJA (Administration of Criminal Justice Act), “no person can be retried on the offence upon which he has been convicted”.
But EFCC said in a statement on Wednesday evening that it believes the judge erred his ruling as Section 36(9) of the 1999 constitution is applicable only where the previous judgment was by a court of competent jurisdiction.
It noted that in the case of the former governor, the apex court had in the said judgment described the process that led to his conviction of Kalu as a nullity because the Judge came from the Court of Appeal to decide the matter.
EFCC added that the court erred in its ruling that the Supreme Court did not order the retrial of Kalu.
According to the anti-graft agency, it amounts to cherry-picking for Kalu to profit from the decision of the apex court nullifying the conviction of his co defendant, Ude Udeagu, but is not prepared to face the burden of retrial.