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Orji Kalu To Spend Christmas In Prison As Court Dismisses Bail Application

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A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday, December 23, 2019, dismissed an application for post-conviction bail filed by former Abia State governor Orji Uzor Kalu, who is serving 12-year imprisonment for N7.65 billion fraud.

Mohammad Liman ordered Kalu to remain in correctional services custody pending the outcome of his appeal against his conviction.

Mohammed Idris, the presiding judge held that there was no valid ground for granting the application.

Kalu, who was convicted on December 5, 2019, applied for bail on December 17, 2019, on the grounds of Ill health and the need the represent his constituency at the Senate, where he is Chief Whip.

He told Justice Liman that he was battling serious health challenges that the medical facilities in the correctional centre could not handle and that he needed to seek the services of his traditional medicine practitioner.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, opposed him, following which the court adjourned until Monday for ruling.

At the commencement of ruling on Monday, December 23, 2019, the court held, among others, that Kalu did not prove that the diseases he mentioned were contagious, as he claimed in his application.

On the ground that the bail would enable Kalu to represent his constituency in the Senate, the judge held that his constituents knew that he was on trial and still voted him into power.

On his claim that the appeal might be delayed, Liman said that developments had broken past records on that.

He said: “It is not in dispute that there are practice directions involved in appeal, but in recent times, these practice directions have been recently enhanced for speedy hearing and determination of high profile corruption cases.

“I believe the applicant can take advantage of these rules to run through the appeal channel.

“I found nothing in favour of the applicant in this application; it is, therefore, discountenanced.”

Udeh Udeogu, a director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House during Kalu’s tenure, and Kalu’s firm, Slok Nigeria Ltd, were also convicted on December 5, 2019.

Similarly, Udeogu also filed an application yesterday for post-conviction bail before Justice Liman.

S. E. Elema, his counsel, prayed the court to grant him bail on grounds of ill-health.

Elema said Udeogo had tuberculosis and cancer.

Adebisi Adeniyi, the EFCC counsel also opposed the application.

The court adjourned till January 17, 2020, for ruling on Udeogo’s application.

Read more at The Nation

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