BREAKING: Court orders release of Orji Kalu from Kuje Prison

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday ordered the release of a former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, from prison.

Kalu was to sentenced to 12 years in prison, after he was convicted of N7.1bn fraud alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited, and a former Director of Finance at the Abia State Government House, Jones Udeogu.

Recall that the Supreme Court had voided the conviction and sentence of the former governor in March. The apex court in a unanimous judgement by a seven-man panel of Justices led by Justice Amina Augie.

The court held that the Federal High Court in Lagos acted without jurisdiction when it convicted Kalu, his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and former Director of Finance in Abia state, Jones Udeogu.

It held that trial judge, 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 said 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.

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