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Coalition Alleges Fresh Plot To Stall Ex-Gov Kalu’s Trial

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As the former Abia State goveror, Orji Uzor Kalu resumes his defence today, in the alleged N7.6 billion fraud leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos,  a coalition of youths and  Human Rights lawyers have alleged fresh plot by the former governor to re-enact his foreign medical trip in a renewed bid to stall his  trial.

Leader of the group, Uche Okoroafor, who addressed journalists in Abuja at the weekend, on behalf of the coalition, urged the court to expedite action on the trial of the former governor in order to restore public confidence in the anti-corruption crusade of President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him “We heard it on good authority that the former governor and his cohorts are working on another round of fake foreign medical trip in a fresh bid to frustrate his resumed hearing for the second time.

“He did it last year, when he claimed to have gone to Germany a number of times  for medical treatment , we have since discovered that it was fake . Today he want to replay a similar game  to stall his resumed trial and we are saying enough is enough “.

“The ex governor should not be working the street a free man and thereby making a huge joke of the anti corruption war”. “He told the world he was sick last year  and embarked on fake endless going trip to Germany hospital ,only for him to  be seen participating  actively during the presidential and national Assembly campaign in Abia . It’s an insult on the people .

“The former governor wants to embark on such fake trip to delay and possibly avert justice and we are saying no this time around” .

Okoroafor therefore urged the court to keep to its last decision to give accelerated hearing on the alleged N7.6bn  fraud case against Kalu.

While speaking further, he stated that “we are monitoring the court proceedings and some of our people will be at the court on Monday to observe.” Attempt to get the former governor’s reaction were fruitless.

Recall that the former governor had opened his defence in the alleged N7.6bn fraud, filled a no case submission which was afterwards dismissed by the trial court on July 31, 2018.

However, on April 24, 2019 the Appellate Court in a lead judgement by Justice M.L. Garba, upheld the decision of the lower court. The Court of Appeal also dismissed appeals filed by Kalu’s co-defendants challenging the jurisdiction of the court to further hear the case, following the elevation of Justice Idris

to the Court of Appeal.

The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, thereafter, issued a fresh fiat to Justice Idris to

conclude the case.

At the  resumed sitting, Jacobs stated that the day’s proceeding was for the defence to open its case.

Responding, Kalu’s lawyer, Awa Kalu, SAN, informed the court that he received a letter from the prosecution informing him of the resumption of the case.

Kalu’s lawyer, therefore, asked the court for a short adjournment for the defence to open its case.

While acknowledging the receipt of the letter written by Kalu’s counsel, the defence counsel  counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), argued that the defence could still open its case.

Justice Idris noted that there had been a prior notice to all the parties in the matter, stating that the hearing of the case should resume.

The Judge also held that the absence of counsels to the second and third defendants could not be justified, and

therefore, ordered Kalu to open his defence.

Kalu, thereafter, took to the dock to open his defence.

Consequently, Justice Idris adjourned the case to August 26, 2019 for “continuation of defence” and further held that “the proceedings will continue on a day-to-day basis till it is concluded.

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