The federal government has asked the Court of Appeal in Abuja to order a fresh trial in the alleged N7.1 billion money laundering corruption charge against the former governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.
The government pleaded with the appellate court to void and set aside the September 29, 2021, judgment of the Federal High Court which prohibited it from retrying Kalu and his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited over alleged fraud.
Acting through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the government also wants the appellate court to order Kalu and Slok to submit themselves for retrial in line with the order of the Supreme Court in its May 8, 2020, judgment voiding the earlier trial and conviction of Kalu and two others and ordering a retrial.
The requests are contained in two notices of appeal filed by lawyer to the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) against the two judgments delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja on September 29.
Justice Ekwo had in the judgments on applications for judicial review filed by Kalu and Slok, upheld among others, their argument that a retrial would subject them to double jeopardy having earlier been tried, convicted and sentenced on the same case.
Kalu was charged and tried with Slok and Udeogu for their alleged complicity in diverting the N7.1b from Abia state’s coffers.
They were convicted and, while Kalu and Udeogu were imprisoned for 12 and 10 years, Slok was wound up.
But, upon an appeal by Udeogu, the Supreme Court set aside their trial and conviction in a judgment on May 8, 2020 on the grounds that the trial judge, having been elevated, ought not to have continued to hear the case.