The Federal High Court Abuja on Tuesday adjourned the arraignment of former governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu, charged for alleged N7.1 billion fraud until June 7.
Kalu was convicted by the Lagos Division of the Court on December 5, 2019 and sentenced to 12 years in prison for N7. 65 billion fraud.
He was convicted for defrauding the government of Abia where he was a governor for 8 years using his company, Slok Nigeria Limited.
The Supreme Court, in its judgement on May 8, 2020, quashed the conviction and ordered that the defendants be retried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The EFCC was to arraign Kalu, following a Supreme Court order that he and his co-defendants in fraud charge be retried.
When the matter was called on Tuesday, counsel to the EFCC, Chile Okoronma, told the court that there was a preliminary matter that needed to be resolved before the former Abia governor could be arraigned.
Okoronma said the prosecution has written a letter to the Chief Judge of the court seeking a transfer of the matter to the Lagos division of the Court.
“Looking at the charge sheet, no element of any of the offenses took place in Abuja. We will be asking that the matter be adjourned “sine die” (indefinitely) while we await the response from the chief judge,” said.
He held that proceeding with the matter in the Abuja division of the court would be an exercise in futility.
The trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, however, refused to adjourn the matter indefinitely and insisted that counsel should take a specific date to return to court. He subsequently adjourned the matter until June 7 for a report on whether it should be transferred to Lagos or not.