BREAKING: Supreme Court nullifies Orji Uzor Kalu’s conviction
The Supreme Court nullified the judgment that convicted the former governor and current senator of Abia, Orji Uzor Kalu, and Ude Udeogo, the former Finance and Accounts Director during Kalu’s administration.
Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and Ude Udeogo were arrested and imprisoned during their time in office for diverting N7.6 billion that belonged to the state government.
On 12 December 2019, Judge Idris Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court in Lagos sentenced Kalu to 12 years in prison after finding him guilty of N7.1bn fraud charges levied against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. Udeogo was also sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Displeased with the judgment of the Federal High Court, Kalu and Udeogu filed an appeal to challenge their sentencing at the Supreme Court.
The apex court, in a unanimous verdict by a seven-man panel of Justices led by Justice Amina Augie, held that the Federal High Court in Lagos acted without jurisdiction when it convicted Kalu, his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu.
“It held that trial Justice Mohammed Liman was no longer a judge of the Federal High Court as at the time he sat and delivered the judgment that convicted the defendants for allegedly stealing about N7.1billion from Abia state treasury.
The apex court, therefore, ordered the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to reassign the case for trial.
History has it that Kalu served as the Governor of Abia State from May 29, 1999, to May 29, 2000.