Court Fixes May 16 For Re-arraignment Of Former Abia Governor, Kalu
BEVERLY HILLS, April 11, (THEWILL) – The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Monday, gave the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the permission to arraign the former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and his co-accused on May 16 for charges bordering on alleged diversion of N5.6bn belonging to the state.
This is sequel to the Supreme Court judgment delivered on March 18, 2016, which dismissed the accused persons' objection to the charges preferred against them and directed that they submit themselves for trial.
Kalu who was hitherto answering to a 107-count corruption charge, will enter fresh plea to an amended 112-count charge dated February 11, 2008.
The trial judge, Justice Anwuli Chikere granted the EFCC leave to re-arraign the former governor after she was furnished with judgment of the Supreme Court. Kalu will be arraigned alongside his firm Slok Nigeria Limited and his alleged accomplice Mr. Udeh Jones Udeogu.
Meanwhile, shortly after the court was served a copy of the apex court verdict, the prosecution counsel, Mr Oluwa Leke Atolagbe applied for an adjournment to enable the agency effectively “prepare for the case”.
According to him, “This matter is slated for mention. On March 18, 2016, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeals by the defendant.
“I will urge my lord to adjourn the case to afford the prosecution some time to take some steps. We will need about two weeks. We seek an adjournment for the defendants to take their plea.”
Kalu's lawyer, Chief Awa Kalu, SAN, and that of the 2nd and 3rd defendants, Chief Solomon Akama, SAN did not oppose the application.
The judge then fixed May 16 for their re-arraignment.