A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, fixed July 16 for hearing a suit filed by Slok Nigeria Limited against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Slok, which is owned by former Governor of Abia, Orji Uzor Kalu, is seeking the court order restraining the EFCC from retrying the firm and its chairman (Kalu) in the the alleged N7.1 billion fraud case.
Justice Inyang Ekwo adjourned the matter to allow parties in the suit regularise their processes.
The judge, therefore, warned that any counsel who failed to do the needful before the next adjourned date would be deemed to have agreed with the decision thereafter.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while the EFCC is the 1st respondent in the case filed by the company, Kalu and former Director of Finance in Abia, Jones Udeogu, are the 2nd and 3rd respondents respectively.
NAN reports that the anti-graft agency had, in 2007, preferred a 36-count charge against Udeogu and Kalu, who currently represents Abia North Senatorial District at the National Assembly.
While the former governor bagged 12 years imprisonment in December 2019, Udeogu was sentenced to 10 years in prison on December 5, 2019.
However, the Supreme Court on May 8, 2020, voided the trial after an appeal filed by Kalu’s co-defendant.
The Supreme Court nullified the trial on the grounds that Mohammed Idris, the trial judge, had no jurisdiction to hear the matter after he was elevated to the Court of Appeal.
Based on the apex court’s verdict, the EFCC, which prosecuted the case, filed a corruption retrial suit against Kalu and other defendants at a Federal High Court, Abuja, and asked the court to transfer the matter to the Lagos division of the court.
But Slok, in an exparte application, sought “an Order of Prohibition prohibiting the Federal Government through the EFCC, her agents, her officers, servants, privies and any other person or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria from retrying the applicant on charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/07 or any other charge based on the same facts.”
The company, which alleged that they were being embarrassed and harassed by the anti-corruption commission, urged the court to stop the EFCC from further retrial.
In the applicant’s processes, it also claimed that the apex court had voided the matter and “did not order its retrial.”
NAN also reports that Justice Ekwo had, on July 2, fixed Sept. 20 for judgment in another suit wherein the ex-governor is seeking the court order prohibiting his retrial.