Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Thursday led a delegation on solidarity visit to Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, following the Chief Whip’s release from Kuje correctional facility.
Senator Kalu was recently released from Kuje following the orders of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.
Kalu had been sentenced to 12 years imprisonment after he was initially found guilty of conspiring and diverting N7.65bn from the Abia State coffers, during his time as governor.
The two-time governor and two others were found guilty of the N7.65billion fraud, in an amended 39 counts which was filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
However, after spending a few months behind bars, the lawmaker was set free by the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.
Justice Mohammed Liman ordered Senator Kalu’s release on the 2nd of June 2020, after listening to an application filed by the former governor.
Senator Kalu, had urged the court to set aside his conviction on December 5, 2019, by Justice Mohammed Idris.
He explained that this became necessary since the Supreme Court, in its verdict delivered on May 8, 2020, held that Justice Idris gave the judgment without jurisdiction.
Justice Liman had on May 20 fixed Tuesday for the hearing of the application filed by Senator Kalu after the suit was assigned to him.
At the hearing of the application, Counsel to Senator Kalu, Lateef Fagbemi, asked Justice Liman to order the release of the former governor following the pronouncement of the Supreme Court.
According to him, the application was made pursuant to Section 159 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
On his part, Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Jacobs, did not oppose the application.
He noted that the case had dragged for over 13 years and it was better for the trial to proceed immediately so that parties would not lose more time.
The EFCC counsel also asked the court to ensure that the order of the Supreme Court for trial to start afresh be complied with, so that all parties could come before the court for a fresh arraignment and trial of the defendants.
In a summary judgment, Justice Liman held that Orji Kalu’s application seeking his freedom was meritorious.
He also ordered the EFCC to file its processes for a fresh arraignment of the defendants after which the date for trial would be communicated to all parties in the case.
Below are some photos from the solidarity visit as led by the Senate President.
Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe; Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu (left); President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege; and Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi; and Deputy Whip, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi during a solidarity visit to the Chief Whip after his release from the Kuje correctional facility in Abuja.