N7.6bn Fraud: Court Revokes Ex-Abia Gov, Kalu’s Bail
Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Monday, November 12, 2018 revoked the bail granted a former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, for failure to appear in court to open his defence.
Kalu is standing trial alongside his former Commissioner for Finance, Ude Udeogu and a company, Slok Nigeria Limited, on an amended 39-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N7.6bn. Further hearing in the matter was stalled at the last adjourned sitting on Monday, November 5, 2018, as the former governor was absent in court to open his defence.
Kalu’s lawyer, Awa Kalu, SAN, had told the court that his client was in Germany for a surgical operation.
He added that the ex-governor had been advised by his doctors to remain in Germany for some time to recuperate.
However, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs , SAN, had expressed surprise at Kalu’s absence , adding that he did not know if or when the ex-governor obtained the court’s permission to travel out.
Jacobs also noted that having submitted his passport to the Court as part of his bail conditions, Kalu must always apply to the Court for the passport whenever he wishes to travel.
He further described Kalu’s absence as an attempt to stall the ongoing trial.
Jacobs, therefore, urged the court to interpret Kalu’s absence as jumping the bail granted him.
In his ruling, Justice Idris held that it was true that the matter was adjourned sine die on September 27, 2018, but that Kalu was, on November 2, 2018, served with a hearing notice that the case had been scheduled for hearing last Monday.
The Judge also held that though the court received a mail confirming Kalu’s treatment arrangement, his lawyer failed to attach any medical report to guide the court as to Kalu’s post-surgery treatment.
Justice Idris further stated that he would adjourn the case, in the circumstances and in the interest of justice, for the last time, stressing that Kalu must return from Germany within seven days and appear before the court.
“In the light of the provisions of the ACJA, I shall not adjourn for more than seven days from today. It is, therefore, hereby directed that the 1st defendant shall return to the country within seven days from today’s date for the hearing of this matter,” he had held.
The Judge, had, therefore, adjourned till today for continuation of trial. At today’s proceedings, the former governor was, again, absent in court.
In view of this, Justice Idris revoked the bail granted the former governor over his failure to appear in court.
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