The Economic And Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) has said it was ready for fresh and immediate re-trial of the former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu.
The Supreme Court has quashed the judgement that convicted and sentenced Kalu to 12- year imprisonment on the grounds that the constitution did not permit a judge elevated to a Higher Court to return to a Lower Court to conclude a part-heard case.
Justice Mohammed Idris, who had been elevated to the Court of Appeal bench, had returned to the Federal High Court in Lagos to complete the case which started in 2007.
EFCC, in a statement by Head, Media and Publicity, Dele Oyewale, described the apex court’s verdict as unfortunate.
According to the commission, the ruling was a “technical ambush against the trial of the former governor.”
The statement reads: ” The attention of the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been drawn to the judgment of the Supreme Court nullifying the trial of a former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu , his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and Jones Udeogu, a former Director of Finance and Account of Abia State Government and ordering their fresh trial at the lower court.
“The apex court based its verdict on the grounds that Justice Mohammed Idris, who convicted Kalu and others had been elevated to the Court of Appeal before the judgment and returned to the lower court to deliver the judgment which it considered as illegal.
“The EFCC considers the judgment of the apex court as quite unfortunate . It is a technical ambush against the trial of the former governor. The Commission is prepared for a fresh and immediate trial of the case because its evidences against Kalu and others are overwhelming. The corruption charges against Kalu still subsist because the Supreme Court did not acquit him of them. The entire prosecutorial machinery of the EFCC would be launched in a fresh trial where justice is bound to be served in due course.”