Trending: Convicted Senator Orji Kalu Begs Court for BailFeatured, Latest News, News Tuesday, December 17th, 2019
(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, who was on December 5 convicted over N7.1bn fraud and sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment, has begged the court to grant him bail from the Ikoyi Custodial Centre pending determination of his appeal.
Kalu said in an application Tuesday that he was faced with serious health challenges, which claimed the medical facilities in the prison cannot handle.
The former governor according to report also stressed that as the Chief Whip of the 9th Senate and the Senator representing Abia North Senatorial District, the interest of his constituents would be in jeopardy if he was kept behind bars.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had prosecuted Kalu and a former commissioner for finance in Abia, Jones Udeogo, and Kalu’s company, Slok Nig. Ltd.
The trial, which started in 2007 eventually ended in October 2019 when parties in the suit adopted written submissions.
On Dec. 5, the judge found all the three defendants guilty.
He found Mr Kalu and Slok Nig. Ltd. guilty of all the 39 counts of the charge, and convicted Udeogo on 34 counts.
Judge Idris sentenced Udeogo to a concurrent 10 years’ jail term and ordered that Slok Nig. Ltd. should be wound up and all its assets forfeited to the Federal Government.
On Tuesday, Kalu’s counsel, Mr Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) informed the court of a bail application he filed on behalf of the former governor, seeking to be released on bail pending the outcome of his appeal against the judgement.
“If there is a right of appeal, then there is a corresponding right of bail pending appeal,” he said.
However, EFCC counsel, Mr RotimI Jacobs (SAN), opposed the bail application.
“Although bail is generally a right of an accused as guaranteed by the Constitution, it is not a right available to a convict because the presumption of innocence had crystslised into guilt and conviction,” he argued.
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