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A branch of the Federal High Court of Abuja on Monday granted former Abia Governor and Senate Chief Dr Orji Kalu permission to challenge his re-consideration by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on alleged money laundering charges.
As a result, Judge Inyang Ekwo ordered the suspension of a planned new charge against the politician on $ 7.1 billion money laundering charges until the legal issues raised against his retrial are resolved.
In an explicit motion made and argued by his lawyer, Professor Ava Kalu (SAN), Igbere TV reports that Senator Kalu has demanded a court order barring the EFCC from reconsidering with the same alleged money laundering charges against him.
He was satisfied that his judge M.B. Idris will put him on trial, conviction and sentencing on the same charges FHC / ABJ / CR / 56/2007, there will be a double risk if he is re-tried on the same charge.
Judge Ekwo, in his ruling, granted Kalu permission to seek an order banning the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the EFCC (his agent), its officers, servants, others, agents, individuals and any other natural or legal person in charge of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. authority, there is no re-attempt with a charge. FHC / ABJ / CR / 56/2007 between FRN v. Orji Kalu and 2 ors or any other accusation based on the same facts de novo, as there is no verdict or conviction by a competent court in Nigeria that would give the same powers.
An order prohibiting the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through the EFCC (its agent), its officers, employees, other persons, agents, individuals and any other natural or legal person who directs the power of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from repeated attempts, harassment and intimidation in relation to the charge no: FHC / ABJ / CR / 56/2007 between FRN v. Orji Kalu and 2 ors or any other charge based on the same facts as he should not be at double risk.
The court also ordered the suspension of the proceedings pending consideration of the application.
Judge Ekwo stated in his judgment that the plaintiff, who is fully clothed in locus standi, had included sufficient material in his corroborating affidavit to ensure that the court exercised its discretion in his favor.
“Exemptions are made at the discretion of the court in accordance with Order 34 (2) of the Federal High Court. When granting permission, the applicant must present to the court sufficient material evidence to enable him to exercise his discretion in a judicial and reasonable manner.
“The affidavit statements in support of the motion concern the plaintiff who has shown sufficient interest in providing him with locus standi to file a claim.
“Pursuant to section 34 (9) of the Constitution, no person who can prove that he has appeared before a court of jurisdiction or a court having jurisdiction over an offender and who has been convicted or acquitted will be tried again for that crime with the same corpus delicti to be served by order of a competent court. “
Meanwhile, the court gave Kalu seven days to file and present his trial to the EFCC, and updated the case to February 23 for a mention.
In his affidavit in support of his motion, Senator Kalu highlighted the historical context of the trial since his first judgment and new instance in 2016 and 2017 at the Abuja Federal High Court branch after the original charges were changed by the EFCC.
He also said that his motion to dismiss the charges was not accepted by the first instance court, the Court of Appeal, or the Supreme Court.
Kalu told the court that following a request from the EFCC to the Chief Justice of the Federal High Court, the charge was transferred to the Lagos Court Branch and transferred to Judge M.B. Idris (now an appellate judge).
That at the time of the transfer of the prosecution to Lagos, he was bearing the costs of transferring his entire legal team from Abuja to Lagos, including pre-trial living expenses.
Senator Kalu said that the prosecution called a total of 19 witnesses at the trial and subsequently closed his case, requiring him to speak in person with the other defendants and, accordingly, present the case.
He stated that, in the middle of the trial, Judge Idris was transferred to the Court of Appeal as a judge of the Court, and then was sworn in and sworn in allegiance on 22 June 2018 and lost his position as judge of the Federal High Court.
The applicant also described how, with the help of Fiat on 2 July 2018, issued by the President of the Court of Appeal, Judge Idris was ordered to return to the Federal High Court to conclude the trial, which was then partially heard in Cabinet No. : FHC / ABJ / CR / 56/2007, between FRN v. Orji Kalu and 2 ors.
That in his judgment of December 5, 2019, Judge Idris found him guilty and sentenced him on the existing charge.
After being convicted and sentenced, he was taken to Kuje Correctional Center, where he served part of his sentence, spending several days in Ikoya Correctional Center.
That on May 8, 2020, the Supreme Court, by its Order of Appeal No.: SC.62C / 2019, Udeh Jones Udeogu vs FRN & 2 ors, found that the trial on the merits of the case was conducted without jurisdiction and therefore ordered a re-trial. the applicant (Udeh Jones Udeogu) without reference to him.
He argued that in Nigeria there was no order or order of a competent court ordering his trial, in view of the fact that the Supreme Court had excluded him from a direct re-trial order issued on the basis of charge no .: FHC / ABJ / 56/2007 …
The undeniable position of the law is that no person who is proven to have been tried by jurisdiction or by a court competent of the offender and found guilty or acquitted should be tried again for that crime, which has the same constituent elements. parts that and is a crime. competent court.
The fact that his trial was invalidated by the Supreme Court in a ruling dated May 8, 2020 cannot authorize the EFCC to bring the same charge against him.
After hearing Awa Kalu (SAN), Judge Quo reserved the ring until Monday, 8 February 2021.
While Professor Awa Kalu (SAN) led Senator Kalu’s defense team, Chief Solomon Akuma (SAN) and KC Nwafor stood for Udeh Jones Udeogu and Slok Nigeria Ltd. respectively.
Meanwhile, the EFCC is demanding a transfer of proceedings from Abuja to the Lagos Judicial Branch.
When the case was resolved, the prosecutor, Mr. Chile Okoroma, informed the judge of his client’s letter requesting that the case be transferred to the Lagos Court Branch.
He said the request was based on a previous ruling by the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal, which found that “there was no defense in the indictment in Abuja.”
Okoroma then called on the court to postpone the trial for an indefinite period (sine dine) until the decision of the chief judge.
However, the trial judge, Judge Inyang Ekwo, rejected the undefined update and appointed June 7 to report on the chief judge’s decision.