On Friday, the Nigerian Supreme Court nullified the convictions against former Abia state governor Senator Orji Uzor Kalu. The decision resulted in the former state governor being released from prison.
In December Kalu alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and his former Abia State director of finance, Ude Udeogu were convicted by the Federal High Court in Lagos of fraud perpetuation of up to N7.65 billion, the fraudulent activities were said to have taken place during 1999 and 2007 which was during Kalus term in office.
The conviction had resulted in a 12-year prison sentence for Kalu and a 10-year prison sentence for Udeogu but both former statesmen only served 3 months in prison.
This comes after the apex court declared that Justice Mohammed Idris was no longer a judge of the Federal High Court when he passed the judgment; this resulted in the apex court overturning the judgment by Idris.
In a unanimous decision taken by the seven-member panel of the Supreme Court, found the conviction invalid, therefore, resulting in the nullification of the ruling made by Idris.
Prior to the conviction, former state governor raised concerns on the court allowing Idris to proceed with leading the case. Reports state that despite the concerns that were raised by his counsel, the High Court proceeded with the case and allowed Idris to convict Kalu.
Pulse.ng reported that a statement was released after the ruling was overturned on Friday; in the statement, Kalu continued to thank the Supreme Court for its unwavering commitment to the rule of law.
Kalu will remain a free citizen of Nigeria as the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court is reportedly reassigning the case.
Written by Tshegofatso Makhudu