By Ise-Oluwa Ige
ABUJAâ€”A Federal high court sitting in Abuja stayed proceedings, temporarily, in a N3.2billion fraud charge preferred against former Governor of Abia State, Dr Orji Kalu and two others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The order for stay of proceedings issuedÂ yesterday at the instance of the accused persons in the case was to enable them pursue their separate appeals, challenging the ruling of the trial court on the issue of jurisdiction to hear the case.
Although EFCC yesterday alleged that the appeal filed by them was a ploy to delay their trial, the judge, Justice Adamu Bello said it was trite that when a higher court is seized of the facts of a case, the lower court must hands off temporarily to await its decision.
Governor Orji Kalu who reacted to the allegation outside the court room told newsmen that the EFCC counsel was ignorant, otherwise, he would not have made such submission. He said they were eager to see the end of the case.
According to him, the charge preferred against him was incompetent and the trial court too lacked the jurisdiction to hear the case.
He said though the trial judge had held that it had the jurisdiction to try him, Kalu said they have the right of appeal on that issue to the Supreme Court which he and two others are exercising.
He said EFCC could not stampede them into a trial which would sooner or later be declared a nullity for want of jurisdiction.