A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday dismissed an application for post-conviction bail filed by former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, who is serving a 12-year imprisonment for N7.65bn fraud.
Justice Mohammad Liman ordered Kalu to remain in correctional services custody pending the outcome of his appeal against his conviction.
Liman held that there was no valid ground for granting the application.
He discountenanced the grounds of ill-health raised by Kalu, saying that he did not prove that the diseases he mentioned were contagious.
Liman also discountenanced the other grounds.
On the grounds that the bail would enable Kalu to represent his constituency in the Senate, the judge held that his constituents knew that he was on trial and still voted him into power.
On the grounds that the appeal might be delayed, Idris said that developments had broken past records on that.
He said, “It is not in dispute that there are practice directions involved in appeal but in recent times, this practice directions have been enhanced for speedy hearing and determination of high profile corruption cases.
“I believe the applicant can take advantage of these rules to run through the appeal channel.
“I found nothing in favour of the applicant in this application; it is, therefore, discountenanced.”
Arguing the bail application of Jones Udeogo, charged, convicted and jailed along with Kalu, his counsel, Mr S. Elema (SAN), urged the court to grant him bail on grounds of ill-health.
Elema said that Udeogo, the Commissioner of Finance in Abia during Kalu’s tenure as governor, had tuberculosis and cancer.
Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Adebisi Adeniyi, however, opposed the application.
The court adjourned the case until January 17 for ruling on Udeogo’s bail application.
Kalu had on December 17 prayed the court to grant him bail from the Ikoyi Custodial Centre pending determination of an appeal against his conviction.
Justice Liman had on December 5 convicted Kalu and sentenced him to a concurrent jail term of 12 years for N7.2bn fraud.
The EFCC prosecuted Kalu together with Udeogo and Kalu’s company, Slok Nig. Ltd.
They were charged on an amended 39 counts of fraud.
The trial, which started in 2007, recorded some setbacks but eventually ended in October 2019 when parties in the suit adopted written submissions.
On December 5, the judge found all the three defendants guilty.
He found Kalu and Slok Nig. Ltd. guilty of all the 39 counts of the charge, and convicted Udeogo on 34 counts.
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.