A former second vice president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Monday Ubani, has added a voice to the conviction of an ex-governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor-Kalu, over N7.16 billion fraud.
Uzor-Kalu was slammed with a 12-year jail term while his co-convict and former director of finance in his government, Ude Udeogo, bagged 10 years imprisonment.
The Federal High Court in Lagos, which delivered the judgement, also ordered that Uzor-Kalu's company through which the fraud was allegedly committed to be grounded.
Below are the legal implications of the conviction of Uzor-Kalu as released by Ubani:
1. He remains a serving senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under this new term of four years unless:
(a) He is recalled by his constituents.
(b) His seat is declared vacant by the senate president if he is unable to attend legislative sittings to a certain period allowed by the constitution.
(c) He dies while serving the sentence before his term in the senate is exhausted (God forbid).
2. He has a right of appeal up to the Supreme Court of Nigeria. He cannot bring any application for stay of execution as the administration of the criminal justice act has outlawed such measures, but he can bring an application for his bail pending the hearing of his appeal. This application is not granted as of right as applicable to when he had not been convicted.
3. For now, he has lost the right of presumption of innocence given to every accused person. The ground/s upon which his bail application can be granted must be on exceptional grounds, part of which has to do with serious health challenge/s that has grievous consequences if he is allowed to remain in prison to pursue his appeal.
4. Due to his legal right of appeal which will take him as far as to Supreme Court, he is not in the eyes of the law yet as an ex-convict until the final pronouncement of the highest court in the land is made about him on these offences he is alleged to have committed. If the Supreme Court finally pronounces him guilty as charged (unless the case does not get up to that level), he will be disqualified from contesting for any future political office until after 10 years after serving.
5. He will answer 'SENATOR ORJI UZOR KALU UNTIL FOR LIFE' because his election to the office of a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was confirmed recently by the Court of Appeal on National Assembly and gubernatorial election matters.
6. If he is finally confirmed guilty by the Supreme Court, he can contest election in Nigeria for any position only after 10 solid years in abeyance.
Legit.ng earlier reported that the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) asked that the prison uniform to be handed convicted Orji Uzor-Kalu should bear the tag ‘corruption villain’.
CACOL said this in a statement made available to Legit.ng on Friday, December 6, in reaction to the sentencing of the former governor of Abia state by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.
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