*Describes voiding of ex-governor’s conviction as ‘technical ambush’
*Says commission prepared for fresh trial of ex-gov, others based on overwhelming evidence
*Vows to relaunch trial
By Kingsley Nwezeh
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commision (EFCC) has said the Supreme Court judgement that nullified the the trial of former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu was a technical ambush and an unfortunate development.
The Apex court which delivered its judgement on Friday based its verdict on the fact that Justice Mohammed Idris, who convicted Kalu and others, had been elevated to the Court of Appeal before the judgment. Idris had returned to the lower court to deliver the judgment, an action the apex court said was illegal.
The anti-graft agency which prosecuted the former governor stated that in view of the apex court judgement, the agency would relaunch its full prosecutorial machinery to ensure that justice was served.
“The attention of the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been drawn to the judgment of the Supreme Court nullifying the trial of a former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu , his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and Jones Udeogu, a former Director of Finance and Account of Abia State Government and ordering their fresh trial at the lower court.
“The apex court based its verdict on the grounds that Justice Mohammed Idris, who convicted Kalu and others had been elevated to the Court of Appeal before the judgment and returned to the lower court to deliver the judgment which it considered as illegal”, it said.
The statement signed by the commision’s new Spokesman, Mr Dele Oyewale, said “the EFCC considers the judgment of the apex court as quite unfortunate . It is a technical ambush against the trial of the former governor. The Commission is prepared for a fresh and immediate trial of the case because its evidences against Kalu and others are overwhelming.
“The corruption charges against Kalu still subsist because the Supreme Court did not acquit him of them. The entire prosecutorial machinery of the EFCC would be launched in a fresh trial where justice is bound to be served in due course”.