Orji Uzor Kalu
Orji Uzor Kalu

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has revoked the bail of a former Governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu, for failure to appear before it.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Kalu for an alleged fraud of N7.65bn.

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Justice Mohammed Idris had earlier threatened to jail Kalu for absenting himself from the court for the continuation of his case.

It was gathered that Kalu was absent in court due to his medical condition and a medical trip to Germany.

Kalu’s lawyer, Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN), told Justice Mohammed that his client was away in Germany for a surgical operation.

He added that the ex-governor had been advised by his doctors to remain in Germany for some time to recuperate.

The defence counsel said counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), was aware of the development and urged Justice Idris to further adjourn the case.

But the EFCC prosecutor, Jacobs, said he was surprised at Kalu’s absence from court, adding that he did not know if or when the ex-governor obtained the court’s permission to travel out.

Jacobs noted that having submitted his passport to the court as part of his bail conditions, Kalu must always apply to the court for the passport whenever he wished to travel.

Describing the ex-governor’s absence from court as an attempt to frustrate the case, Jacobs urged Justice Idris to interpret Kalu’s absence to mean that he had jumped bail.

However, the defence counsel urged Justice Idris to discountenance Jacob’s argument, saying as of when Kalu travelled out, the court had adjourned the case sine die (indefinitely).

Ruling on the lawyers’ submissions, Justice Idris noted that it was true that the matter was adjourned sine die on September 27, 2018 but Kalu was on November 2 served with a hearing notice that the case had been scheduled for Monday.

The judge also noted that the court received a mail confirming Kalu’s treatment arrangement, but he said the defence counsel failed to attach any medical report to guide the court as to Kalu’s post-surgery treatment.

Justice Idris said in the circumstance, he would, in the interest of justice, adjourn the case for the last time, stressing that Kalu must return from Germany within seven days and appear before the court.

The matter was adjourned till Monday, November 12, 2018 for the continuation of trial; but as Kalu failed to appear, his bail was revoked.