By GODWIN TSA, Abuja
Thursday, May 1, 2008
•Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu
Photo: Sun News Publishing
A Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday began a fresh trial of former Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu who was re-arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 112 count-charge bordering on money laundering.
Also arraigned with the chairman, Board of Trustees of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) on similar charges, was a Permanent Secretary with the Abia State Civil Service, Chief Udeh Jones Udeogu.
They had since been granted bail after pleading not guilty to all the charges preferred against them.
In granting the oral bail applications moved by counsel to the accused, Chief Anwa Kalu (SAN) and Solomon Akuma (SAN) respectively, Justice Adamu Bello adopted the earlier conditions attached to Kalu’s bail application by Justice Binta Murtala Nyako, currently on transfer to Lagos.
Justice Nyako granted him bail in the sum of N100 million with a bond deposit in a bank and two sureties in the like sum.
The sureties must have evidence of their tax payment certificate from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for three consecutive years as at when due.
Besides, the former Abia State governor was directed to depose to a sworn affidavit stating the number of all countries he has citizenship and to deposit all passports with the court.
He was to also provide two traditional rulers and to deposit three recent passport photographs with the court.
In addition, Kalu was directed to be reporting to the EFCC. He is not to travel out of jurisdiction without the permission of the court.
Justice Nyako had while ruling on his bail application noted that the offences are bailable and that there was the possibility of his standing trial.
In adopting these conditions, Justice Bello made a variation to the earlier condition directing Kalu to be reporting to the office of the EFCC on weekly basis.
In the case of Udeogu, the court admitted him to bail in the sum of N2 million with two sureties in the like sum.
The transfer of Justice Nyako who was handling the case, to Lagos, necessitated Kalu’s re-arraignment.
Besides, the EFCC had made a fresh plea before the court for the re-trial of Kalu on the grounds of an amended charge sheet.
Although Kalu’s counsel had opposed to the application for a fresh trial, Justice Bello in his ruling held that he agreed with the prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs that there was the need for a fresh trial to enable him assume jurisdiction of the matter.