The Supreme Court has overturned the conviction and 12-year prison term imposed on former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu by the Federal High Court in Lagos.
A seven-man panel of justices of the apex court in a unanimous decision ruled that the conviction and subsequent prison term was null and void since the lower court in Lagos lacked jurisdiction when it convicted the ex-Abia governor, his company Slok Nigeria Limited and former Finance Director in Abia State, Mr. Jones Udeogu.
The justices led by Justice Amina Augie further ruled that the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Liman had been elevated to the Court of Appeal as at the time he acted as a High Court judge to convict Kalu, his firm and Udeogu.
The Herald recalls that Justice Liman sentenced the accused persons in an April 24, 2019 judgement.
While Kalu bagged a 12-year sentence, Udeogu got a 10-year sentence.
The convicted persons filed an appeal at the Supreme Court challenging their conviction.
Justice Ejembi Eko, who read the Supreme Court judgement on Friday, said the lower court’s judgement convicting the accused was null and void.
He said that a Court of Appeal justice could not at the same time operate as a High Court judge.
The Supreme Court ruled that the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court should reassign the case for trial.