The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, fixed July 13 for hearing in a suit filed by Slok Nigeria Limited, a company belonging to former Governor of Abia, Orji Uzor Kalu, against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The plaintiff is seeking the court order restraining the EFCC from prohibiting retrial in the the N7.1 billion fraud case involving the firm and its chairman (Kalu).
Justice Inyang Ekwo, who fixed the date in a ruling, also gave counsel to the plaintiff, Marvel Akpoyibo, seven days to serve his processes on the respondents.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while the EFCC is the 1st respondent, Kalu and former Director of Finance in Abia, Jones Udeogu, are the 2nd and 3rd respondents respectively.
NAN reports that the abti-graft agency had preferred a 36-count charge against Kalu and Udeogu in 2007.
While the former governor bagged 12 years imprisonment in December 2019, Udeogu was sentenced to 10 years in prison on December 5, 2019.
However, the Supreme Court on May 8, 2020, voided the trial after an appeal filed by Kalu’s co-defendant.
The Supreme Court nullified the trial on the grounds that Mohammed Idris, the trial judge, had no jurisdiction to hear the matter after he was elevated to the Court of Appeal.
Based on the apex court’s verdict, the 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, Akpoyibo, in an exparte application on Monday, told Justice Ekwo that he had a motion 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, which alleged that they were being embarrassed and harassed by the anti-corruption commission, urged the court to stop the EFCC from further retrial.
It said it 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 & twi 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.”
NAN also reports that the ex-governor is also seeking prohibition of the retrial in a separate suit.(NAN)