A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday fixed May 16 for the re-arrangement of a former Governor of Abia State, Mr. Orji Uzor Kalu, his co-accused for charges bordering on alleged diversion of N5.6bn belonging to the state.
This followed the judgment of the Supreme Court delivered on March 18, 2016, dismissing the accused persons’ objection to the charges preferred against them and directing them to submit themselves for trial.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had in 2007 initially preferred 96 counts including money laundering, against Kalu, his company, Slok Nigeria Limited, and Jones Udeogo.
Kalu and his co-defendants were accused of diverting the state’s fund while he was governor of Abia State between 1999 and 2007.
The anti-graft agency on February 11, 2008 amended the charges and presented 112 counts against the defendants.
Their objection to the charges were dismissed by the court, the Court of Appeal and finally by the Supreme Court on March 18.
Kalu and Udeogo, who were represented by different lawyers, were present in court on Monday.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Oluwaleke Atolagbe, who passed a copy of the judgment of the Supreme Court validating the trial to the judge, Justice Anwuri Chikere, during the Monday’s proceedings, said the prosecution needed time to take some steps before the re-arraignment
Atolagbe said, “This matter is slated for mention. On March 18, 2016, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeals by the defendant.
“I will urge my lord to adjourn the case to afford the prosecution some time to take some steps. We will need about two weeks. We seek an adjournment for the defendants to take their plea.”
Counsel for Kalu, Chief Awa Kalu (SAN), and the lawyer representing Udeogo and Slok Nigeria Ltd, Chief Solomon Akama (SAN), did not oppose the request for adjournment.
The judge then fixed May 16 for their re-arraignment.