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Don’t transfer my case to Lagos, Kalu begs court

Orji Kalu

Orji Kalu

Former Abia governor Orji Kalu has asked the Federal High Court, Abuja to compel the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Attorney General of the Federation to prosecute his case in the Abuja.

Kalu , in a motion ex parte, also sought the leave of the court to apply for the issuance of an order of mandamus.

This is to compel the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, the third defendant in the suit to remit his case file which was transferred to Lagos, back to Abuja for continuation of hearing.

He made the application through his legal team comprising five Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN); Mr Awa kalu, Mr Mike Ozekhome, Mr Solomon Akuma Mr Nwufo and Mr Gordi Uche.

He further asked for an order that the leave so granted shall operate as a stay of all actions relating to or connected with the case, pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

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Attached to the application was a supporting affidavit of 16 paragraphs and an affidavit of urgency deposed to by Ikechukwu Njoku, a legal practitioner.

According to the deponent, the suit brought against Kalu commenced in 2007 after he left office as the executive governor of Abia.

That after he left office, the applicant did not contest any elective office because he wanted to retire to a private and quiet life in his village, Igbere in Abia.

However, due to the case brought against him by the EFCC, he temporarily relocated to Abuja to face trial alongside others charged with him.

After he entered his plea of not guilty to all the charges and was subsequently granted bail by the court, his trial was delayed by some interlocutory applications that travelled to the Supreme Court.

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That in 2016, the Supreme Court ordered that the case be returned to the Abuja division of the Federal High Court for trial.

That acting in strict compliance with the judgment of the Supreme Court, the Chief judge of the Federal High Court assigned the case to Justice Anuli Chikere for trial.

The deponent further said that the court alongside the prosecution and defence team agreed for three clear dates and the matter was adjourned to Oct. 6, Oct.7, and Oct. 8,  for definite trial.

And that thereafter, all the parties left the court to prepare for the adjourned dates.

He said it was surprising that without consultation with other parties, the EFCC, the prosecuting agency asked the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for a transfer of the case to Lagos.

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The applicant further stated that the chief judge yielded to their request and transferred the matter to the Lagos judicial division of the Federal High Court.

In addition, Kalu told the court that he had been standing trial since 2007 and had never failed to appear in court on any of the adjourned dates.

He expressed his willingness to face his trial before any Judge in Abuja or in Umuahia were the alleged offences were committed.

He stated further that transferring a nine-year-old case from Abuja to Lagos was for persecution and not prosecution.

While accusing the prosecuting agency of engaging in forum shopping for a convenience court to convict him, he averred that he temporarily resides in Abuja and his team of lawyers all reside in Abuja.

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