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Orji Uzor-Kalu to face fresh trial in N7.1b money laundering case

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There appears to be no respite yet for a former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, as the Federal Government, yesterday asked the Court of Appeal in Abuja to order his fresh trial in an alleged N7.1 billion money laundering case.

The Federal Government is pleading with the appellate court to void and set aside the September 29, 2021 judgment of the Federal High Court, which prohibited it from retrying the former governor and his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited, over an alleged N7.1 billion fraud.

It also wants the appellate court to order Kalu and Slok to submit to a retrial, in line with the order of the Supreme Court in a May 8, 2020 judgment voiding the earlier trial and conviction of Kalu and two others, and ordering a retrial.
The request were contained in two notices of appeal filed by lawyer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), against the two judgments delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja on September 29.

Ekwo had, in the judgments on applications for judicial review filed by Kalu and Slok, upheld among others, their argument that a retrial would subject them to double jeopardy, having earlier been tried, convicted and sentenced on the same case.

Kalu was charged and tried alongside Slok and Mr. Jones Udeogu for their alleged complicity in diverting N7.1 billion from Abia State’s coffers. They were convicted. While Kalu and Udeogu were imprisoned for 12 and 10 years, Slok was wound up.

But, upon an appeal by Udeogu, the Supreme Court set aside their trial and conviction in a judgment on May 8, 2020 on the grounds that the trial judge, having been elevated, ought not to have continued to hear the case.

Ameh Ochojila/Guardian

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