Judiciary

Alleged Money Laundering: Orji Kalu asks Court to stop his retrial

The Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr.Orji Uzor Kalu has asked a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC from retrying him on the N7.1 billion naira alleged money laundering charges against him.

According to Dr. Kalu, having once been tried by the EFCC, convicted and sentenced of the same charges, it will amount to double jeopardy for him if he is allowed to be subjected to a fresh trial on same charge.

In an ex-parte motion, Senator Kalu urged the court to rescue him from suffering double jeopardy.

He further sought for an order of court prohibiting the Nigerian government, through the EFCC, its officers, servants, agents, privies and any other person or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from retrying him on any other charge based on the same facts de novo, being no extant judgment and ruling of a competent court in Nigeria mandating same.

Dr. Kalu further asked that if his application is granted, it should operate as a stay of proceedings until the determination of the application or until the Court decide otherwise.

Meanwhile, the arraignment slated for Tuesday was put off as the EFCC applied that the trial of the former governor be transferred from Abuja to the Lagos division of the court.

When the matter came up, the prosecution counsel, Mr Chile Okoroma informed Justice Inyang Ekwo that the EFCC had written two letters to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court seeking for movement of the trial to Lagos in compliance with a Supreme Court judgment.

He reminded the Judge that the Supreme Court in its judgment directed the trial to hold in Lagos since the larger ingredients of the alleged offence were committed in Lagos.

Insisting that prosecuting the case in Abuja will amount to an exercise in futility and disobedience to Supreme Court order.

The EFCC counsel sought for an indefinite arraignment of Dr. Kalu to allow the transfer of the case to Lagos, based on the letters to the Chief Judge of the Court.

However, Justice Ekwo declined to grant indefinite adjournment and fixed June 7, 2021 for report of the Chief Judge on the transfer request.

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