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Court halts Orji Uzor Kalu’s retrial

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A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday ordered a stay of proceedings in the N7.1 billion fraud case against former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu.

The EFCC had preferred a 36-count charge against Kalu and Ude Jones Udeogu, a former director of finance and accounts in Abia in 2007.

While the former governor bagged 12 years’ imprisonment in December 2019, Udeogu was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

However, the Supreme Court on May 8, 2020 voided the trial and ordered a retrial after an appeal filed by Kalu’s co-defendant.

But Kalu, in an ex parte application, had sought the leave of court to apply for an order prohibiting the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the EFCC, its officers, servants, other agents, privies and any other person or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from retrying him on charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 between FRN vs Orji Kalu & 2 ors or any other charge based on the same facts de novo, there being no extant judgment and ruling of a competent court in Nigeria mandating the same.

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Kalu said he was exempted from the retrial order of the Supreme Court as it was particular to his co-defendant.

He said it would amount to double jeopardy if he is subjected to a fresh trial on the same charge.

Ruling on the application on Monday in Abuja, Justice Inyang Ekwo granted leave to the defendant to pursue his application seeking to stop his retrial.

Ekwo ordered a stay of proceedings until the determination of the application.