The Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday ordered the release of a former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, from the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja.
Justice Mohammed Liman ordered Senator Kalu’s release on Tuesday morning after listening to an application filed by the former governor.
Our sources recalled that Kalu was jailed for 12 years on December 5, 2019, after he was convicted of N7.1bn fraud alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited, and a former Director of Finance at the Abia State Government House, Jones Udeogu.
However, the Supreme Court, in May, nullified the trial and conviction of Kalu and others on the grounds that the judge who handled the case lacked jurisdiction.
The Supreme Court’s judgment followed an appeal by Udeogu, contending that the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, concluded the 12-year-old trial and gave judgment after he had been elevated to the Court of Appeal and ceased to be a judge of the Federal High Court.
On Tuesday, Kalu’s counsel, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), urged Justice Mohammed Liman to the release of the ex-governor from prison custody, based on the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in Udeogu’s appeal.
In response, the prosecuting counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), said the anti-graft agency would not, in principle, oppose Fagbemi’s application for Kalu’s release from prison but requested for a date when arraignment will be done based on the judgement.