The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja Wednesday ordered the federal government and its agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) not to retry the former governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu.
Before the verdict, Kalu was facing a N1.7 billion fraud case for which he was earlier allegedly convicted.
Justice Inyang Ekwo made the order while delivering judgment on the application filed by Kalu.
In the application, the former governor is seeking to stop his retrial on the grounds that it would amount to double jeopardy if he faces the same trial again after he was released from prison.
The judge held there was no extant order that directed for retrial of Kalu saying that the judgment of the Supreme Court did not affect Kalu.
However, the court did not spare former Commissioner of Finance, Jones Udeogu who was convicted along with Kalu, as the court ordered for his retrial on the same charge and same offence.
Justice Ekwo held that there was no extant order that directed for retrial of the former governor, saying that the judgment of the Supreme Court did not affect Kalu.
Kalu’s counsel, Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN), while adopting his processes, stated that Kalu stood for trial for 12 years and got a conviction and was jailed for 10 years.
He cited section 36 (9) of the 1999 constitution, which stipulates that no Nigerian shall be subjected to double jeopardy.
Awa Kalu insisted that the former governor having served a period of his jail term would be subjected to double jeopardy if allowed by the court to be put on trial for the second time.
Objecting, the EFCC through its counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) asked the court to dismiss the suit, submitting that the judgment, which led to release of Kalu has been declared a nullity by the Supreme Court. He added that the court also ordered the retrial of the appellant.
EFCC argued that since the Supreme Court order benefitted Kalu, he must bear the burden that arose fromthe apex court’s verdict.