The Supreme Court on Friday nullified the conviction of former Abia State governor, Mr. Orji Uzor Kalu.
Kalu was convicted of N7.65billion fraud perpetuated when he was Abia State governor between 1999 and 2007. He was convicted alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and his former Abia State director of finance, Ude Udeogu.
However, the Supreme Court in its judgment set aside the ruling.
The court ruled that Justice Mohammed Idris, who convicted Kalu, lacked the power to sentence the former governor as he was no longer a judge of the high Court, having been promoted to the Court of Appeal.
The Court however ordered a retrial of the case.
Kalu had also argued same by challenging the jurisdiction of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court chaired by Justice Idris to sentence him.
Kalu argued that the court of appeal Judge who delivered the judgement at the Federal High Court to convict him lacked the power to do so.
Despite the objections raised by Senator kalu’s counsels, the appeal court judge proceeded with the case at the high Court and sentenced Senator Kalu.
Meawhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reacted, saying it is ready for a retrial after the Supreme Court judgment that voided a federal high court judgment that sent former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, to 12 years imprisonment.
In a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Dele Oyewale, the commission said,”The apex court based its verdict on the grounds that Justice Mohammed Idris, who convicted Kalu and others had been elevated to the Court of Appeal before the judgment and returned to the lower court to deliver the judgment which it considered as illegal.
“The EFCC considers the judgment of the apex court as quite unfortunate . It is a technical ambush against the trial of the former governor. The Commission is prepared for a fresh and immediate trial of the case because its evidences against Kalu and others are overwhelming. The corruption charges against Kalu still subsist because the Supreme Court did not acquit him of them. The entire prosecutorial machinery of the EFCC would be launched in a fresh trial where justice is bound to be served in due course.”