The planned re-arraignment of a former governor of Abia State and senator representing Abia North at the National Assembly, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, before Justice I E Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja on Tuesday February 2, 2020 could not proceed.
The delay in proceedings followed an objection raised by the prosecuting agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Chile Okoroma, EFCC director, legal and prosecution, appearing for the prosecution informed the Court that the agency had written to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, requesting that the case be transferred to the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court, which he said has jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
“On 20 January, 2021, we wrote a letter to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court requesting for the transfer of this case to the Lagos Division of this court.
“My lord, we have also written another letter dated February 2, 2021, which I have served on all parties involved in this matter. We will be asking that this matter be adjourned sine-dine, pending the decision of the Chief Judge.
“One thing is certain, the case cannot be heard in Abuja,” Okoroma said.
However, Justice Ekwo in a brief ruling, rejected the application of the prosecution to adjourn sine dine. Instead, he adjourned proceedings till June 7, 2021 for the prosecution to report on the outcome of its application to the Chief Judge.
Kalu alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu are to be docked for fraud to the tune of about N7.1billion.
The ex-Abia governor was already serving his 12-year jail term at the Kuje Prison, when the Supreme Court, nullified his conviction by Justice Idris Mohammed of a Federal High Court, Lagos on technical ground. The Apex Court held that, the trial judge was no longer a Judge of the Federal High Court at the time he delivered the judgment, having been elevated to the Appeal Court.