Commercial Law

Arraignment stalled as EFCC seeks transfer of Sen. Kalu’s N7.1bn fraud case

By Olalekan Awojodu

Abuja

The much anticipated arraignment of Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu, charged for alleged N7.1 billion fraud, was stalled on Tuesday as a result of some developments which hindered it.

Although the ex-Governor now Senate Chief Whip, appeared came to court in Abuja ahead of his arraignment Tuesday morning, the arraignment did not take place as ordered by the Supreme court.

Subsequently, a new date, June 7 has now been fixed for his arraignment.

Kalu is to be arraigned before Justice Inyang Ekwo on charges bordering on money laundering.

In his argument, counsel to the EFCC, Mr Chile Okoronma, told the court that there was a preliminary matter that needed to be resolved before the former Abia governor could be arraigned.

Okoronma hinted that the prosecution has written a letter to the Chief Judge of the court seeking a transfer of the matter to the Lagos division of the Court.

He then prayed that the matter be adjourned indefinitely, arguing that proceeding with the matter in the Abuja division of the court would be an exercise in futility.

“Looking at the charge sheet, no element of any of the offenses took place in Abuja. We will be asking that the matter be adjourned “sine die” (indefinitely) while we await the response from the chief judge,” Okoronma told court.

But the trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo refused to adjourn the matter indefinitely, insisting that counsel should take a specific date to return to court.

After hearing out the parties, the trial Judge adjourned the matter till June 7 for a report on whether it should be transferred to Lagos or not.

“Having rejected an application for an adjournment sine die, I hereby make an order adjourning this matter until June 7,” Ekwo ruled.

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