Absence of counsel stalls trial in Kalu’s case

Orji Uzor Kalu
Orji Uzor Kalu

The absence of the counsel to the first defendant, Orji Kalu, in a N7.6 billion money laundering case, has stalled continuation of defense before the Lagos division of the Federal High Court on Monday.

Awa kalu, counsel to Mr Kalu, former governor of Abia State and a senator, through the counsel to the third defendant, A. T Ufor, informed the court that he had taken ill yesterday and could not make it to the court for continuation of defense.

“This morning, I was informed that the counsel to the first defendant Awa Kalu (SAN) took ill yesterday and we called the prosecution to inform him of the predicament. He (Mr Kalu) asked us to pray your lordship for an adjournment till tomorrow to enable him recover,” Mr Ufor informed the court.

The prosecuting counsel, Adeniyi Adebisi, informed the court he had no objection to the prayer made by Mr Ufor. The counsel to the second defendant, Emmanuel Utegbu, also informed the court he had no objections to the prayer.

The case was subsequently adjourned to the next day for continuation of defense by the trial judge.

Mr kalu, alongside his former commissioner of finance, Ude Udeogo, and a company, Slok Nigeria Limited, are facing an amended 39 counts charge of money laundering to the tune of N7.6billion.

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The case, which has been on for over 13 years, witnessed further delay after the trial judge, Mohammed Idris was elevated to the court of appeal.

Two Special Fiats had been issued for specific periods, to enable the trial judge conclude hearing of the case, the last of which expired in November 2018.

The judge had informed the court on July 22, when trial resumed in the case, that a new fiat with the instructions to continue sitting until the matter is concluded has been issued and the matter would be heard on a daily basis until its conclusion.

The former governor, in an appeal court ruling, had been told to open defense as the decision to dismiss his no case submission had been upheld by the court of appeal.

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