The threat by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to appeal the decision of the Federal High Court Abuja division which stops the Federal government from initiating a retrial of the firmer governor of Abia State and Senate Chief Whip Senator Orji Uzor Kalu over alleged financial infractions as then Abia State’s governor, has been described as meaningless shadow boxing and emotional pursuit of self help measures by the EFCC.
Speaking against the backdrops of the landmark decision of the Federal High Court in which the erstwhile governor of Abia State was freed of the planned retrial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) said the persistent and sustained tempo of media persecution by the EFCC against the Senator representing Abia North Senatorial Orji Uzor Kalu, has graphically exposed the hierarchy of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as a group of persons pursuing a war of Ethno-religious vendetta against one of the most prominent Igbo South East Politicians with the potency to be considered for the position of the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress in the 2023 Presidential election.
“It would seem that some reactionary elements from the Arewa Peoples Congress and the Northern Governors Forum may have penetrator the EFCC and have deployed the EFCC to weaken the possibility of the South East to present a formidable candidate for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023.
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) recalled that the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, had on Wednesday, barred the Federal Government from retrying the former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, based on the N7.1billion money laundering charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, earlier preferred against him.
HURIWA recalled that the court, in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, held that the Supreme Court did not in the verdict it gave on May 8, 2020, order the retrial of either Kalu or his his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited.
HURIWA said the presiding judge Justice Ekwo held that the Supreme Court only ordered the retrial of former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu, who was the Appellant before it. Consequently, he upheld a suit Kalu filed to challenge the legal propriety of his planned re-arraingment by the EFCC.
HURIWA recalled that Senator Kalu had in the Application he filed through his team of lawyers let by Chief Awa Kalu, SAN, argued that allowing the EFCC to try him afresh on the charge and same facts upon which he was earlier convicted and sentenced on December 5, 2019, would occasion him to suffer a “double jeopardy”.
HURIWA recalled that following their dissatisfaction with the ruling of an Abuja Federal High Court, which barred it from retrying the former Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Wednesday vowed to appeal against the ruling.
“EFCC believes the judge erred in this ruling as Section 36(9) of the 1999 constitution is applicable only where the previous judgment was by a court of competent jurisdiction.
” In this case, the apex court had in the said judgment described the process that led to the conviction of Kalu as a nullity because the Judge came from the Court of Appeal to decide the matter.
“The Commission further avers that the court erred in its ruling that the Supreme Court did not order the retrial of Kalu; that it amounts to cherry-picking for Kalu to profit from the decision of the Apex court nullifying the conviction of his co defendant, Ude Udeagu but is not prepared to face the burden of retrial,” EFCC’s Spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said on Wednesday night.
HURIWA however condemned the EFCC for seeking to have the same matter that was decided by the competent court of law and reached a determination that saw the former Governor going to the Kuje Prisons spending over 6 Months just before the highest Court in Nigeria the Supreme Court of Nigeria ruled that the judicial process that led to the sentencing of Orji Uzor Kalu to Kuje Prison was irregular and therefore ordered the immediate freedom for the erstwhile governor.
HURIWA said the attempt to initiate the same case twice after the accused person had spent time in prison for same charges amounted to double jeopardy which is irregular and unconstitutional. The Rights group has therefore asked the EFCC to perish the thought of frittering humongous sum of public fund to chase politically motivated persecution of Orji Uzor Kalu at the Court of Appeal.