On Monday, Slok Nigeria Limited, a company belonging to former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, urged the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja to prohibit retrial in the N7.1 billion fraud case involving the company and its chairman.
The former governor was tried, convicted and sentence to 12-year jail term for diversion of about 7.1 billion funds from the Abia government’s coffers.
But the Supreme Court had on May 8, 2020, overturned his sentencing, adding that the then trial judge, Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos, ruled without jurisdiction in the conviction of Kalu, Slok Nigeria Limited and former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu.
Based on the apex court’s verdict, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which prosecuted the case, asked the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to transfer the corruption retrial of Kalu and others to the Lagos Division of the court.
But Slok’s counsel, Marvel Akpoyibo, told Justice Inyang Ekwo on Monday that he has a motion ex parte seeking “an Order of Prohibition prohibiting the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, her agents, her officers, servants, privies and any other person or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria from retrying the applicant on charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/07 or any other charge based on the same facts.”
The company further alleged that they were being embarrassed and harassed by the prosecution.
It therefore sought “AN ORDER OF PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the 1st Respondent through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, her agents, her officers, servants, privies and any other person or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria from further retrying, harassing and/or intimidating the Applicant with respect to Charge No. FHCIABECR/56/o7 F.R.N. VS. ORJI UZOR KALU & 2 ORS or any matter connected thereto or therewith, or any other charge based on the same facts or having the same ingredients.”
In the applicant’s processes, it also claimed that the apex court had voided the matter and “did not order its retrial”.
On his part, the presiding judge, Ekwo, gave Akpoyibo seven days to serve his processes on the respondents.
“Case is adjourned to 13 July 2021 for hearing,” he added.
While EFCC is the first respondent, Kalu and Udeogu were the second and third respondents.
Kalu is also seeking prohibition of the retrial in a separate suit.