When on Tuesday, May 12, the Supreme Court in Abuja ordered the release for Kalu Orji's co-convict, Ude Udeogu, much hope for the freedom of the former Abia governor was kindled among his friends in all circles.
This hope was actualized on Tuesday, June 2, by the Federal High Court in Lagos ordered Kalu release from Kuje prison in Abuja.
The former governor is serving a 12-year jail term at the Correctional Service Centre in Kuje, for allegedly looting N7.65 billion belonging to the Abia state government.
Before the latest development, the Supreme Court in Abuja had set aside the trial of Kalu and Udeogu since judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, at the time had been promoted to the court of appeal and as such lacked jurisdiction over the case.
Thus in a unanimous judgment read by Justice Ejembi Eko, the court ruled a justice of the Court of Appeal cannot operate as a judge of the Federal High Court.
The apex court later ordered the chief Judge of the Federal High Court to reassign the case for trial.
Some factors influenced the interim freedom of the embattled politician from the confines of prison:
1. The presiding the judge, Justice justice Liman, ruled that the application of Kalu did not lack merit and thus granted it while also stating that the senator should be released.
2. The EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Jacob, did not oppose the applicant's motion
3. Jacob felt that objecting to the application of Kalu would demand a lot of processes and time which the antigraft agency could not afford, being that it was more interested in putting machinery in motion that will bring about a fresh trial.
Legit.ng had earlier reported that Udeogu had secured a warrant of release from the Kuje Prison in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Udeogu happened to have been convicted for fraud alongside Orji Ozor Kalu, a former governor of the state. The order for Kalu's co-convict was given on Tuesday, May 12, by the Supreme Court in Abuja.
Meanwhile, the former Abia state governor is to remain in prison until a contrary verdict was given by the apex court.
In a related post, Legit.ng reported that despite the apex court's judgment that nullified the sentencing of Kalu, he had remained in Kuje prison four days after the verdict.
The court did not issue any order for Kalu’s release because he did not file any application for such. Legit.ng gathered that the judgment only covered the appellant, Udeogu, who challenged the propriety of a Court of Appeal judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, to try him.
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