The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says it will appeal the ruling by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court stopping the Commission from retrying a former governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.
Kalu was serving a 12-year jail term for N7.1 billion fraud when the Supreme Court, ruling on an appeal by his co-defendant, Ude Udeogu, on 8 May 2020, nullified the proceedings leading to their conviction.
The Supreme Court had ordered a retrial at the Federal High Court.
But Kalu who profited from the ruling to secure release from the Kuje Correctional Centre, filed an application before the Federal High Court in Abuja to stop his retrial.
Earlier today, Justice Ekwo had granted the ex-governor’s request on the grounds that the apex court’s judgment did not order his retrial and that by virtue of Section 36 (9) of the 1999 constitution as amended, or Section 283 (2) of the ACJA (Administration of Criminal Justice Act), “no person can be retried on the offence upon which he has been convicted”.
The EFCC in a statement by its Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, however, believes the judge erred in this ruling as it says Section 36(9) of the 1999 Constitution is applicable only where the previous judgment was by a court of competent jurisdiction.
In this case, the apex court had in the said judgment, described the process that led to the conviction of Kalu as a nullity because the judge came from the Court of Appeal to decide the matter.
The Commission further averred that the court erred in its ruling that the Supreme Court did not order the retrial of Kalu; that it amounts to cherry-picking for Kalu to profit from the decision of the apex court nullifying the conviction of his co-defendant, Ude Udeagu but is not prepared to face the burden of retrial.