BREAKING: Nigeria’s Supreme Court quashes conviction of former Gov Orji Uzor-Kalu, 12-year jail term

Orji Uzor-Kalu
Orji Uzor-Kalu

Nigeria’s Supreme Court has voided the judgement that convicted former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor-Kalu, and sentences him to 12 years imprisonment.

The apex court, on Friday, in a unanimous decision by a seven-man panel of Justices led by Justice Amina Augie, held that the Federal High Court in Lagos acted without jurisdiction when it convicted Kalu, his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and the state’s former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu.

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The Supreme Court held that the trial Justice Mohammed Liman, who sat on Kalu’s case was no longer a judge of the Federal High Court as of the time he presided over the case and delivered the judgement that convicted the Kalu for allegedly stealing about N7.1billion from Abia State treasury.

The apex court held that, Justice Liman, had been elevated to the Court of Appeal before then, and 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.

As a result, the apex court vacated the judgement that convicted the defendants and ordered a fresh trial of the defendants.