Amended charges, subsisting appeal stall Kalu’s trial
Trial of former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu on the N5.6 billion-fraud allegation was yesterday stalled at the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja.
The third defendant, Slok Nigeria Limited, which is owned by the accused, stalled the arraignment following a subsisting appeal at the Supreme Court.
Counsel to the third defendant, Solomon Aku, had asked for adjournment on the ground of the subsisting appeal, even though Kalu and the second defendants were present in court.
The matter, before Justice Anwuli Chikere, was also delayed due to Federal Government amendment of the 107 count charges, which has now been reduced to 34.
Aku said his request for adjournment was to enable his client sort out the appeal.
He also submitted that the appellant had applied to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed and the Director of litigation of the Supreme Court for a hearing date.
Justice Chikere, sought for a confirmation from the prosecution counsel, Oluwaleke Afolabi, who affirmed that there was a subsisting appeal, but noted that there were some issues surrounding the process.
The judge informed the court that she would not go ahead with a case that was pending in court.
Attempt by counsel to ride on Section 306 (1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, could not convince the judge.
She thereafter adjourned the case to June 30, pending the determination of the appeal at the Supreme Court.
Yesterday was the second time the arraignment of the former governor, would be stalled.
Although, he was first arraigned on July 27, 2007, at the Federal High Court, Abuja, on a 107-count charge of money laundering and diversion of public funds, his trial could not commence, as he is challenging the criminal charges against him at various courts.
The application for amended charges has been filed before the court.