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Just In: Supreme Court Orders Fresh Trial Of Orji Kalu

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The Supreme Court has quashed the judgment that convicted the former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor-Kalu, and sentenced him to 12 years in prison.

In a unanimous judgment on Friday by a seven-man jury, headed by Justice Amina Augie, the Supreme Court held that Kalu, his company – Slok Nigeria Limited and his former assistant, Jones Udeogu, were operating beyond jurisdiction by the Federal High Court in Lagos, which tried and convicted.

The Supreme Court then proceeded to set aside the judgment which convicted the defendants and directed another judge to hold a fresh trial of the defendants.

In the view of the Court, Justice Mohammed Idris, who held the jury, was no longer a Federal High Court judge as he sat and delivered the judgment convicting the accused for allegedly stealing about N7.1 billion from the Abia State Treasury.

The Supreme Court added that Justice Idris, previously appointed to the Court of Appeal, lacked the powers to resume sitting as a judge of the High Court.

The Court said the fiat issued by the President of the Court of Appeal to Justice Idris was unconstitutional pursuant to section 396(7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

‎A Federal High Court in Lagos ‎ had on December 5, 2019 sentenced Orji Kalu, to 12 years’ imprisonment for N7.2 billion fraud and money laundering. Kalu, now a senator, was convicted by the court on all 39 counts favoured by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission charges against him. Kalu was charged in the state of Jones Udeogo, alongside a former Finance Commissioner, and his business, Slok Nig. Ltd. Ltd. While Kalu and his company have been found guilty of all the 39 charges, Udeogo has been convicted of 34 charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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