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EFCC asks court in Abuja to transfer Orji Kalu’s ‘fraud case’ to Lagos

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is seeking the transfer of Orji Kalu’s case file from the Abuja division of the federal high court to that of Lagos.

Kalu, former governor of Abia state and current chief whip of the senate, was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment in December 2019 after he was convicted of diverting N7.1 billion from the coffers of Abia state during his time as governor.

The EFCC had preferred a 36-count charge against him and Ude Jones Udeogu, a former director of finance and account in Abia.

However, the supreme court voided the trial after an appeal filed by Kalu’s co-defendant.

The supreme court nullified the trial on the grounds that Mohammed Idris, the trial judge, had no jurisdiction to hear the matter after he was elevated to the court of appeal.

The apex court ordered that the case be issued to another judge for a fresh trial

The re-arraignment of the former governor was fixed for Tuesday before Inyang Ekwo, a federal high court judge.

At the court session, Chine Okoroma, counsel for the EFCC, informed the court of a pending letter before the chief judge asking for the transfer of the case to Lagos.

Okoroma said none of the offences took place in Abuja and that the supreme court has held that the case cannot be heard in the FCT.

“On January 20, 2021, the prosecution had written a letter to the CJ requesting for the case file to be transferred to the Lagos division,” he said.

“We have also written a reminder dated February 2 to the deputy chief registrar.

The matter cannot proceed in Abuja if not it would be an exercise in futility.”

He asked the court to adjourn the matter sine die, pending a reply from the chief judge.

Ruling on the application, Ekwo held: “Even without your application, the matter cannot go on.”

“But I cannot adjourn the matter sine die. There must be a specific date for report,” he said.

The judge adjourned the case till June 7 for feedback.

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