Alleged ₦7.6bn fraud: Judge revokes Orji Kalu’s bail

Orji Uzor-Kalu
Orji Uzor-Kalu

A judge of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court Monday revoked the bail granted to the former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, after Mr Kalu flouted the order of the court.

Mohammed Idris, the judge, said part of the bail conditions given to the former governor after his first arraignment in 2007 was that he deposit his international passport with the court.

“I have perused the proceedings from court records and I discovered that one of the conditions for granting bail to the first defendant who happens to be Orji Uzor Kalu is that he should deposit his international passport with the court and the permission must be granted before he can travel outside the country for whatever reason,” the judge said.

“It’s clear that the first defendant has flouted this order, no one high or low, rich or poor can disobey a valid order of the court and expect such court to show mercy.”

Mr Kalu, who was the governor of Abia State between 1999 and 2007, is facing a 39-count amended charge bordering on conspiracy and money laundering.

Last week, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the prosecution in the trial, informed the court that Mr Kalu had traveled to Germany without the permission of the court.

Rotimi Jacobs, counsel to the EFCC, said the travel was a ploy to frustrate the trial and implored the judge to treat the former governor as someone who had jumped bail.

But Mr Kalu’s lawyer, Awa Kalu, opposed the EFCC’s claims insisting his client travelled for a surgical operation and had been advised by the doctor to remain abroad to recuperate.

In his decision, the judge largely agreed with the EFCC but noted that he would respect Mr Kalu’s neurosurgeon’s advice that the former governor be allowed to get a bed rest.

“The bail granted to the first defendant is hereby revoked,” Mr Idris said.

“It is hereby ordered that the first defendant upon his returning to Nigeria must submit himself to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with all his travelling documents. EFCC should effect his arrest if he fails to submit himself.”

The trial was adjourned till January 23, 2019, for a day-to-day trial.

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