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Court disallows Abia ex-governor’s retrial on N7bn fraud case

By News Desk

The Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja has prohibited the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from retrying former Abia State Governor, Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu.

Justice Inyang Ekwo gave the order while delivering judgment on Tuesday in an application filed by the former governor seeking an order of court prohibiting the EFCC from retrying him on a charge for which he had already been tried and convicted.

“An order is hereby made prohibiting the Federal Government through the EFCC from retrying the applicant (Kalu) on charge no. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007since there was no order in the judgment of the Supreme Court for the retrial of Kalu, the judge ruled.

Justice Ekwo held that the Supreme Court only ordered the retrial of former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu, who was the Appellant before it and not the former governor. Consequently, he upheld a suit Kalu filed to challenge the legal propriety of his planned re-arraingment by the EFCC.

It would be recalled that Kalu had in the Application he filed through his team of lawyers led by Chief Awa Kalu, SAN, argued that allowing the EFCC to try him afresh on the charge and same facts upon which he was earlier convicted and sentenced on December 5, 2019, would amount to him suffering a “double jeopardy”.

According to him, “The unassailable position of the law is that no person who shows that he has been tried by any court of competent jurisdiction or tribunal for a criminal offence and either convicted or acquitted, shall again be tried for that offence having the same ingredients as that offence, save upon the order or a competent Court.

“The trial of the Applicant having been pronounced a nullity by the Supreme Court in its judgment dated the 8th day of May, 2020 and without more, cannot entitle the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to institute the same charge against the Applicant”.

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