Court fixes June 2nd for Kalu’s application for release

Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed June 2 for the hearing of a motion on notice filed by a former Abia State Governor, Orji Kalu, seeking his release from a correctional facility.

Kalu, in his application, had urged the court to order his release from the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Kuje, Abuja, after the Supreme Court nullified his conviction.

The Supreme Court on May 8, 2020, nullified the trial of Kalu and others, who were in December convicted and sentenced for a N7.1bn fraud.

Justice Mohammed Idris, who had been elevated to the Court of Appeal bench, had returned to the Federal High Court in Lagos to complete the case which started in 2007.

The judge had sentenced the ex-governor to 12 years’ imprisonment for the fraud he allegedly perpetrated during his tenure as Abia State governor.

But in a unanimous judgment of the Supreme Court led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour on May 8, 2020, the apex court nullified the entire trial on the grounds that the constitution did not permit a judge elevated to a higher court to return to a lower court to conclude a part-heard case.

Justice Ejembi Eko, who delivered the lead judgment, also declared as unconstitutional the provisions of Section 396(7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, on which the then President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa (retd.), relied on to authorise Justice Idris to return to the High Court to conclude the trial.

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