Justice Idris Reveals When Ex-Gov Kalu’s N7.6bn Fraud Case will Be Concluded
The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, has directed that the alleged N7.6bn fraud case of a former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, must be concluded before the end of September this year.
According to Punch Newspaper, the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, who was among the 12 High Court judges recently elevated to the Court of Appeal, made this known to both the prosecution and defense counsels.
Justice Idris said he would refrain from his annual vacation to hear Kalu’s case, presumably to conclude it before September when he would get busy at the Court of Appeal – his new duty post.Kalu’s lawyer, Prof Awa Kalu (SAN), had earlier written to the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Bulkachuwa, to release Justice Idris to enable him to conclude hearing in Kalu’s case, which is already at an advanced stage.
The defense counsel made the request pursuant to Section 396(7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, which allows a High Court judge elevated to the Court of Appeal to conclude all partly-heard cases in his docket.
The prosecuting counsel for the Federal Government, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), and other defense counsel, Chief K.C. Nwofor (SAN) and Solo Akuma (SAN), gave their consent that Justice Idris should conclude the case despite his elevation to the Court of Appeal.
Kalu, who was Abia State governor between 1999 and 2007 is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly diverting N7.6bn from the state’s treasury.
He was charged alongside his company, Slok Nigeria Limited, and Ude Udeogu, who served under him as the Director of Finance and Account, Abia State Government House.
The defendants have, however, pleaded not guilty to the 39 charges pressed against them.
Credit : Dailypost