Former Abia State governor Orji Uzor Kalu has said no to the transfer of his trial on money laundering charges from the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court to the Lagos Division of the court.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had arraigned Kalu and his fellow accused persons before Justice Anwuri Chikere of the Federal High Court in Abuja on September 27. He faced an amended 34 counts of money laundering.
The charges were originally filed in 2007 but stalled by interlocutory appeals at the instance of the defendants. He was accused of diverting a cumulative sum of N3.2bn from the Abia State Government’s treasury allegedly by the defendants while Kalu was the governor of the state.
Kalu was not the only one charged as Jones Udeogo, and the former governor’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited were involved.
In an ex parte motion, Kalu sought the leave of court to apply for an order of mandamus to compel the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to return the case which was transferred to Lagos back to Abuja for continuation of hearing.
He also prayed that if the order was granted it should operate as “a stay of all actions, matters or issues ancillary to or relating to or pertaining to or connected with the case, pending the hearing and determination of the suit.”
His prayers were predicated on the provisions of Order 34(1)(a) and 3 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules, 2009 and section 6(6)(a) of the 1999 Constitution.
The ex parte motion was filed along with the substantive suit which was numbered, FHC/ABJ/CS/845/2016.
The EFCC, the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, and the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, are the respondents to the suit.
The processes were filed by Kalu’s lawyers led by Chief Awa Kalu (SAN).