By Olalekan Awojodu
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday slated legal processes filed by parties to stop the retrial of the Senate Chief Whip and former Abia state governor, Orji Uzor Kalu for July 2, for adoption.
The alleged N7.1bn fraud matter is currently before Justice Inyang Ekwo who adjourned the matter for adoption at a resumed sitting on Wednesday.
Sen. Kalu was granted leave to challenge the legality of the retrial in the same charges in February.
Counsel to the former governor, Prof. Awa Kalu SAN, had told the court that the respondents have served on him their counter affidavits.
Reacting, counsel to the 1st respondent (EFCC) Oluwaleke Atolagbe; George Ukaegbu representing the 2nd respondent, and K.C Nwufor for the 3rd, all admitted having filed and exchanged processes.
In a short ruling, Justice Ekwo said since all parties have “joined issues”, the court has taken over control of the case.
Subsequently, the court adjourned to July 2, for adoption.
Kalu is specifically seeking an order of court prohibiting the Federal Government, through the EFCC, its officers, servants, others, 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 same.
The ex governor had also applied for order prohibiting the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through the EFCC (her agent), her officers, servants, others, agents, privies and any other person or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from retrying, harassing and intimidating him with respect to the charge as concerns charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 between FRN vs Orji Kalu & 2 ors or any other charge based on same facts as he need not suffer double jeopardy.
More so, Kalu is asking the Federal High Court to restrain EFCC from retrying him on the same alleged N7.1b money laundering charges against him.
He contended that having been tried once by EFCC, convicted and sentenced in the same charges FHC/ABJ/CR/56/ 2007, it will amount to double jeopardy for him if he is allowed to be subjected to a fresh trial on same charge.