Further hearing in the trial of a former Abia State Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, and two others over alleged N2.9 billion fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, continued before Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday.
While being led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, an operative of EFCC, Ovie Tobore Akpoyibo, narrated how efforts to arrest one Micheal Akpan Udoh, who was a cashier at the Abia State Government House, has been unsuccessful.
He said: "In respect of M. A. Udoh, On January 15, 2018, I was instructed to go to Umuahia to locate his residence and if possible arrest him. When I got to Umuahia, I linked up with the State Attorney-General and he called the Accountant-General who took me to Udoh's apartment.
"Operatives gained access into the property the next day. At the place, we met Udoh's wife and daughter and we were told that the man has traveled to Calabar. I later asked for his phone number, but I could not connect with him. I then left my phone number with the wife so that he can call me anytime he is around".
The witness further revealed that efforts to serve a court summons on Udoh for him to appear as a witness in the case have also yielded no positive result.
Kalu's lawyer, Chief Charles Enwelunta, while speaking on the issue, regretted that the prolonged trial is taking a negative toll on the defendants while the second defendant's lawyer, Chief Solo Akuma (SAN), also noted that the prosecution's case is becoming endless.
The third defendant's lawyer, K. C. Nwofor (SAN), also aligned himself with the views expressed by his colleagues.
But the prosecution counsel noted that the case was filed since 2007 and the defendants were the ones challenging jurisdiction till 2015 before the Supreme Court made a final pronouncement on the issue.
He, therefore, added that he cannot be forced to close his case because the prosecution needs to bring facts about the case before the court.
While speaking on the issue, Justice Idris said that he cannot dictate to the prosecution how he will conduct his case. But he advised parties to always take the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 into cognizance in their approach to the case.
Hearing of the suit continues tomorrow, March 20.