The Supreme Court, apex court of the land has declared void the judgement that convicted and sentenced former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor-Kalu to 12 years imprisonment.
TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) reports the Supreme Court declared void the judgement on Friday in a unanimous decision by a seven-man panel of Justices led by Justice Amina Augie.
Recall the Federal High Court in Lagos sentenced the former Abia Governor to 12 years’ imprisonment for N7.2 billion fraud and money laundering on Thursday 5th December 2019.
The court convicted Kalu, now a senator, on all the 39 counts preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charge.
Kalu was charged alongside a former Commissioner for Finance, in the state Jones Udeogo, and his company, Slok Nig. Ltd.
While Kalu and his company were found guilty of all the 39 counts, Udeogo was convicted on 34 counts and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.
The court ordered that the Slok Nig. Ltd. Should be wound up and its assets forfeited to the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has held that the Federal High Court in Lagos acted without jurisdiction when it convicted Kalu, his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and the former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu.
According to the panel, the trial Justice Mohammed Liman was no longer a judge of the Federal High Court as at the time he sat and delivered the judgement that convicted the defendants for allegedly stealing about N7.1billion from Abia state treasury.
The Supreme Court averred that Justice Liman, having been elevated to the Court of Appeal before then lacked the powers to return to sit as a High Court Judge.
It held that the Fiat that was issued to him by the Court of Appeal President pursuant to section 396(7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act was unconstitutional.
Consequently, the apex court vacated the judgement that convicted the defendants and ordered a fresh trial of the defendants.