Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday rejected a plea by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for the revocation of the bail granted a former Abia State Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu.
EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) had urged the judge to revoke the bail granted to the former governor while responding to a request by Kalu’s lawyer, Chief Gordy Uche (SAN) for an adjournment of the alleged fraud case against his client due to his absence.
Explaining the reason behind the non-availability of Kalu in court yesterday, Uche told the judge that he had travelled out of the country for a surgery in Germany.
He said: “My lord, at the last hearing of this matter on the 31st of July, 2018, we did inform the court that the first defendant (Dr. Kalu) had an appointment for a surgical operation which was scheduled for the 2nd of August, 2018, in Germany.
“Incidentally, the first defendant was unable to get a flight out to meet up with the appointment. The Consultant Surgeon, Dr. Mario, thereafter went for his summer vacation.
“However, from the communications we have, the only available date for the surgery is today. We have already made out a letter attached to which are the correspondences fixing the appointment since last week Friday.
“It is very unfortunate that we found ourselves in this circumstance and we shall be applying for an adjournment for the first time in this case. This is the first time the first defendant will be absent in court. We passionately plead for a short adjournment to enable him take this surgery, recover and stand his trial.”
Other defence lawyers, Chief Solo Akuma (SAN) and Mr. K. C. Nwofor (SAN) were not opposed to the request for adjournment.
However, in his response, EFCC’s lawyer, Jacobs (SAN), argued that the time given to Kalu by the court to travel for medical treatment has elapsed and he cannot by himself extend it.
“If he is absent in court, it is against my lord’s order. If he has travelled out of the country, he has flouted the court’s directive. I urge the court to revoke his bail for travelling out of the country without the court’s directive,” Jacobs said.
In a short ruling, the judge expressed his displeasure over the absence of the former governor.
He, however, declined the request to revoke his bail.
Further hearing in the matter has been adjourned to September 20.
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