Despite the submissions of the two lawyers, Justice Idris faulted Kalu’s leaving for Germany without court clearance and ordered the revocation of the bail.
Counsel to former Abia State Governor Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, Mr. S. E. Eleme (SAN), yesterday told Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos reason his client failed to appear before the court to stand trial.
This is coming on the heels of the revocation of bail Kalu is enjoying by Justice Idris.
Kalu, Udeh Jones Udeogu and Slok Nigeria Limited are standing trial before the court over alleged fraud charge slammed on them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Explaining why Kalu was absent in court, Eleme told Justice Idris that the former governor underwent a surgical operation at a German hospital and that he will require between 10 and 12 weeks to fully recover.
He later sought for a long adjournment to enable the former governor complete his medical examination.
Said he: “We have obtained a comprehensive medical report dated 5th November 2018, which
we forwarded to the court. Indeed, we filed it in the registry on 7th November 2018, for it to come through the normal process.
“The first defendant has shown exemplary commitment to his trial over a period of 11 years until his health, over which he has no control, became an issue.
“In the light of the foregoing, we most respectively urge the court to grant an adjournment for a period of time that is adequate to enable the first defendant complete his medical examination.”
Responding to criticisms by EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), over Kalu’s failure to seek the court’s nod before embarking on the trip, Eleme said: “On the 27th of September 2018, the matter was adjourned indefinitely and the case file was returned to the Chief Judge.
“We then pleaded with the prosecution’s lawyer to tarry a while before reapplying for the fiat to allow my lord continue with the matter. This is to afford the first defendant opportunity to attend to his health needs.
“The prosecution lawyer actually gave us his words that he will tarry a while but we never heard from him again up till the time he reapplied for the fiat and hearing date was fixed.”
Responding to a question from the judge on why Kalu’s bail should not be revoked for travelling out of the country without court’s leave, Mr. Eleme said the former governor actually travelled in a state of medical emergency wherein his right to life had to be protected.
He said: “The revocation of the first defendant’s bail will be an extreme step and an equivalent of death sentence when he had not been convicted tried or convicted of a particular offence.”
Responding, EFCC’s Jacobs told the court that he actually learnt from the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu that Kalu wrote the commission about his intention to travel.
Despite the submissions of the two lawyers, Justice Idris faulted Kalu’s action in leaving for Germany without court’s clearance and ordered the revocation of the bail.
“The first defendant has breached the term of his bail condition and I am constrained to revoke his bail. However, he shall be allowed to fully recuperate abroad without being harassed by law enforcement agencies.
“On his return to Nigeria, he must, within 24 hours, report to the EFCC, failing which he will be arrested,” he declared.
Further hearing in the matter has been adjourned to January 23, 2019.