A Federal High Court in Abuja has granted leave to a company belonging to former Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu – Slok Nigeria Limited – to challenge its planned retrial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The company is slated to go on trial for alleged money laundering involving Kalu and a former Finance Director in the Government House, Ude Jones Udeogu.
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Justice Inyang Ekwo granted the leave yesterday while ruling on an ex parte motion argued by Slok’s lawyer, Marvel Akpoyibo.
The judge ordered the company to, within seven days, serve the respondents in the case, the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), Kalu and Udeogu.
He adjourned the matter till July 13 for hearing.
Slok was tried and convicted with Kalu and Undeogu in the N7.1 billion money laundering case, but the trial was later set aside by the Supreme Court in a judgment on May 8, 2020 on the grounds that the trial judge, having been elevated, ought not to have continued to hear the case.
In the judgment given in an appeal, filed by Udeogu, the Supreme Court ordered a retrial in the case.
It is the retrial that Slok is seeking to prevent with its fresh suit, which the court, yesterday, granted it permission to prosecute.
In the new suit, Slok is seeking to prohibit the Federal Government and its agents, including the EFCC, from retrying it, based on the same case on which it was earlier convicted and sentenced.
The company argued that it would amount to being subjected to double jeopardy.
Slok also argued that such a retrial was unnecessary because there was “no order of a superior court in Nigeria mandating same”.
The case, which is also before Justice Ekwo, is yet to be decided.
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