Alleged N7.6bn fraud: Judge revokes Orji Uzor Kalu’s bail ,lambasts him over Germany trip


Justice Mohammed Idris on Monday lambasted a former governor of Abia State, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, for absenting himself from the Federal High Court in Lagos for the continuation of his N7.65bn alleged fraud case.


The judge, in a ruling, described as “highly irresponsible” the conduct of the former governor in the case since July 31, 2018, when his no-case submission was dismissed and he was directed to open his defence.

Justice Idris recalled that on July 31 after he dismissed Kalu’s case and directed him to open his defence, the former governor begged for a six-week adjournment on the claim that he had a surgery appointment in Germany.

But the judge said on Monday that he doubted that Kalu had any such surgical appointment as of July 27 when he wrote to the court to seek a six-week adjournment of his trial.

“The letter for the adjournment of the 31st of July, 2018 was written on the 27th day of July, 2018 and forwarded to this court on the 31st day of July, 2018. From the email correspondence of 31st July, 2018 sent at 11.29am GMT by one Ifunanya, it appears that the said German surgeon was not even available for an appointment with the 1st defendant, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, when the letter of 27th July, 2018 was written and when the application for an adjournment was made on the 31st day of July 2018.

“It appears from the said email that as at the 31st day of July, an appointment had not yet been made. I agree with the learned counsel for the prosecution that there is indeed no letter from the said German surgeon that the 1st defendant, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, would require any surgery whatsoever. The entire scenario appears to be ridiculous.

“The conduct of the 1st defendant, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, in the matter since the ruling of this court on the 31st day of July, 2018, wherein the court dismissed his no-case submission is highly irresponsible.

“A litigant who deliberately or carelessly disregards an order of court cannot expect the discretion of the court to be exercised in his favour. Justice, after all, is said and done, is for all the parties.

“No one, no matter how highly placed, can be above the law. Let it be said loud and clear that this court will apply the law with the full force it requires,” Justice Idris said in his ruling on Monday.

Earlier when the case was called, Kalu’s lawyer, Mr Gordy Uche (SAN), had lamented that “we seem to have a little problem with the 1st defendant.”

Uche said, “The medical appointment was slated for the 2nd of August, but he couldn’t get a flight to Germany. Unfortunately, the surgeon went on summer vacation, however, the appointment is slated for today (Monday).”

Uche urged Justice Idris to further adjourn the case “to enable him (Kalu) to do his surgery and recover.”

“Only the living can be tried,” the defence lawyer said.

But opposing the application for further adjournment, the prosecuting counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), contended that the former governor had no justification to be absent from the court on Monday.

Jacobs told the judge that after applying for a six-week adjournment on July 31, Kalu had been about the country for political activities and even went to the North to receive a traditional title.

While noting that Justice Idris had been given September ending deadline to conclude the case, Jacobs urged the judge to revoke Kalu’s bail for absenting himself from the court on Monday.

“He (Kalu) cannot, on his own, extend the medical permission given to him by this court; a person going about everywhere obtaining chieftaincy title, doing politics in the country; this (surgical) appointment is contrary to the order of this court.

“Having jumped bail, I apply that his bail be revoked,” Jacobs said.

The judge, however, adjourned the case till September 20 and 21, 2018, stressing that Kalu must make himself available.
Alleged N7.6bn fraud: Judge revokes Orji Uzor Kalu’s bail ,lambasts him over Germany trip Alleged N7.6bn fraud: Judge revokes Orji Uzor Kalu’s bail ,lambasts him over Germany trip Reviewed by Odogwu Emeka Odogwu on Tuesday, September 11, 2018 Rating: 5

No comments: