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Orji Kalu attends senate plenary days after regaining freedom

By Idowu Abdullahi,

Days after regaining freedom from one of the correctional facilities in the country, the Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Kalu, has resumed back to the national assembly to continue representing his senatorial district.

The Guild reports that Kalu, who is a former Abia State Governor, was last week Wednesday released from prison following the voiding of his December 2, 2019, conviction on charges of fraud, embezzlement, and mismanagement of public funds.

The Supreme Court had on May 8 voided the judgment and subsequent sentence of Uzor-Kalu to twelve years imprisonment, thus ordering a fresh trial.

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos ‎had on December 5, 2019, sentenced Kalu, who is also a serving senator to 12 years’ imprisonment for alleged N7.2 billion fraud and money laundering.

Kalu was charged alongside a former Abia state’s Commissioner for Finance, Jones Udeogo, and his company, Slok Nig. Ltd. He was arraigned before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and was convicted on all the thirty-nine counts preferred against him by the anti-graft agency.

While Kalu was sentenced to twelve years’ imprisonment, Udeogo was convicted on thirty-four counts and sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment.

However, the apex court, in a unanimous judgment by the Justice Amina Augie-led seven-man panel, held that the Federal High Court in Lagos acted without jurisdiction when it tried and convicted  Kalu, his firm – Slok Nigeria Limited and Udeogu.

The Supreme court panel later quashed the judgment and directed the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to assign the case to another judge of the court for the trial to begin afresh.

The panel held that Justice Mohammed Idris, who conducted the trial and sentenced Kalu, was no longer a judge of the Federal High Court as at the time he delivered the judgment, adding that having been elevated to the Court of Appeal, Justice Idris, lacked the powers to return to sit as a High Court Judge.

But, the Senator representing Abia North Senatorial District, arrived at the Senate wing of the nation’s parliament on Tuesday morning to resume legislative duties at the National Assembly complex after spending over six months in incarceration at the Kuje Correctional Centre.

Briefing journalists at the entrance to the Senate chamber after exchanging pleasantries with colleagues, Kalu urged Nigerians to keep believing and never lose hope no matter the challenges.

“I just want to thank God for everything that has happened. It is the will of God. I want to urge Nigerians to keep hope alive.” he said.

Welcoming him back for legislative duties, the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, expressed gratitude to the Almighty for Kalu who he described as the ‘one and only Chief Whip’.

”Welcome back our one and only Chief Whip. We are very grateful to God for bringing you back.”

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