The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is set to commence fresh trial of the lawmaker representing Abia North Senatorial District, Orji Uzor Kalu, saying it is waiting for the Federal High Court Chief Judge to reassign the N7.1bn fraud case to a judge.
The anti-graft agency noted that the decision is hindering the fresh trial ordered by the Supreme Court.
The prosecuting counsel for EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), on Tuesday noted that the anti-corruption agency has applied to the Federal High Court Chief Judge to assign the case to a new judge.
Recall that the former governor of Abia was convicted of the N7.1bn fraud last December and sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment.
The Supreme Court, however, overruled the conviction and prison sentence on the grounds that Justice Mohammed Idris, who gave the verdict, lacked jurisdiction to preside over the case as he had been elevated to the Court of Appeal and ceased to be a judge of the Federal High Court as of when he delivered the judgment.
The Supreme Court ordered that the trial should start all over again before another judge.
The Senator was released last week following the ruling of the court until his case is reassigned to a new judge.
The prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Jacobs, when asked if EFCC has filed a suit against the lawmaker said an application had been submitted to the Federal High Court Chief Judge and his decision was being awaited.
Jacobs said, “We are not filing new charges. We have applied to the CJ to reassign the case in line with the decision of the Supreme Court. We have yet to see whether it has been assigned.”
In the amended 34 counts filed before the court, the EFCC alleged that Kalu diverted N7.1bn from Abia State treasury while he was the state governor between 1999 and 2007.
The anti-graft agency alleged that he “did procure Slok Nigeria Limited – a company solely owned by you and members of your family – to retain in its account, domiciled with the then Inland Bank Plc, Apapa branch, Lagos, an aggregate sum of N7,197,871,208.7 on your behalf.”