Orji Uzor Kalu
A Federal High Court in Abuja has rejected the request to transfer the trial of former governor of Abia state and Senate chief whip, Orji Uzor Kalu to a high court in Lagos division.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had applied to the court that the N7.1billion money laundering charge against Kalu and two others be transferred to the Lagos division of the court in line with an earlier ruling of the Court of Appeal that Lagos was the proper forum for the trial of the case.
Justice Inyang Ekwo who ruled on the application on Friday July 22, rejected the application on grounds that only the court’s Chief Judge possesses the power to transfer such a case under Section 98 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.
Ekwo held that the prosecution had twice written the Chief Judge, requesting for the transfer and which request the Chief Judge declined.
He noted that the prosecution ought to abide by the decision of the court’s Chief Judge or in the alternative, the prosecution was at liberty to return to the Supreme Court to seek a review of its earlier order directing that the case be re-heard by the Federal High Court.
The judge who said that granting the request to transfer the case to Lagos would breach the provision of Section 235 of the 1999 Constitution and amount to a challenge of the finality and supremacy of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Ekwo concluded by saying that EFCC’s application was an abuse of court process. He then ordered lawyer to the prosecution, Rotimi Jacobs to show cause within seven days why he should not be disqualified from further prosecuting the case.