Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja on Monday temporary halted the re-trial of former Abia Governor, Senator Orji Kalu on alleged corruption charges.
Justice Ekwo temporarily stalled the re-trial while delivering a ruling in an application by Kalu seeking leave to file a motion against his re-trial for alleged fraud committed when he served as Governor of Abia State between 1999 to 2007.
The Judge also ordered the government from harassing and or arresting the applicant in respect of the offence which he had been convicted and sentenced.
In addition, Ekwo held that the order shall operate as a stay of his trial which was scheduled to commence last week with his arraignment.
He also ordered parties in the suit to file all necessary processes and adjournment till February 23, 2021, for mention of the substantive suit
Kalu was last year sentenced to 12 years imprisonment after he was convinced of misappropriating the sum of N7. 1 billion belonging to Abia State.
He had already spent about six months in the custody of the Correctional Service when the apex court voided his conviction and sentencing on the grounds that the trial judge having been elevated to the Court of Appeal erred in law to pass judgment on the matter.
The apex court in its ruling in the appeal by Kalu’s co-defendant David Udeogu consequently ordered a fresh trial of the appellant.
Following the ruling of the Supreme Court, the federal government through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) initiated a fresh charge against the defendants to which Kalu is objecting to.
Kalu in the application for leave to file a suit against his re-trial by the EFCC claimed his re-trial will amount to double jeopardy if allowed to go on.
Ruling in the application on Monday Justice Ekwo held that the application of Kalu is meritorious and subsequently granted him leave to challenge his re-trial.
The judge then made an order prohibiting the federal government through the EFCC or any of its agents from re-trying Kalu for the same offence he was found guilty and convicted.