Judge gets leave to conclude Kalu’s trial


Justice Mohammed Idris, who was elevated to the Court of Appeal, has been permitted to conclude the trial of former Abia State Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) re-arraigned Kalu at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

The ex-governor was charged along with a former Director of Finance in Abia State Government House, Mr. Udeh Udeogu and Slok Nigeria Limited on 34- count charge of laundering N3.2 billion.

Kalu’s lawyer, Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN), had written Court of Appeal president, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, asking that Justice Idris be permitted to conclude the case.

The request is based on Section 396(7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.

It provides: “A judge of the High Court who has been elevated to the Court of Appeal shall have dispensation to continue to sit as a High Court judge only for the purpose of concluding any part-heard criminal matter pending before him at the time of his elevation and shall conclude the same within a reasonable time.”


The former governor made a no-case submission after EFCC closed its case May 11. Kalu is contending that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case for him to defend.

According to him, there was no evidence he asked Slok Nigeria Limited to retain any money from Abia State treasury.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), and defence counsel, Chief K.C. Nwofor (SAN) and Solo Akuma (SAN), had on Monday agreed that Justice Idris should conclude the case.

Jacobs said he wanted to amend the charge, but the defence counsel resisted the move on the basis that the prosecutor ought to obtain the court’s leave first.

But Jacobs argued that the court’s leave was not needed to amend the charge.


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