By Innocent Anaba
LAGOS—A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos Monday, rejected an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for the revocation of the bail granted a former Abia State Governor, Dr. Orji Kalu.
Trial judge in the matter is Justice Mohammed Idris.
EFCC’s counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, had prayed the court to revoke the bail granted to the former governor while responding to a request by Kalu’s lawyer, Chief Gordy Uche, SAN, for an adjournment of the alleged fraud case against his client due to his absence.
Explaining the reason behind the unavailability of Kalu in court, Monday, Chief Uche told the court that he (Kalu) had travelled out of the country for a surgical operation in Germany.
He said: “My lord, at the last hearing of this matter on July 31, 2018, we did inform the court that the first defendant (Dr. Kalu) had an appointment for a surgical operation which was scheduled for the 2nd of August, 2018, in Germany.
“Incidentally, the first defendant was unable to get a flight out to meet up with the appointment. The Consultant Surgeon, Dr. Mario, thereafter, went for his summer vacation. However, from the communications we have, the only available date for the surgery is today (Monday). We have already made out a letter attached to which are the correspondences fixing the appointment since last week Friday.
“It is very unfortunate that we found ourselves in this circumstance and we shall be applying for an adjournment for the first time in this case. This is the first time the first defendant will be absent in court. We plead for a short adjournment to enable him take this surgery, recover and stand his trial.”
Other defence lawyers, Chief Solo Akuma, SAN and Mr. K. C. Nwofor, SAN, were not opposed to the request for adjournment.
However, in his response, EFCC’s counsel argued that the time given to Dr. Kalu by the court to travel for medical treatment had elapsed and he cannot by himself extended it.
In a short ruling, the court expressed its displeasure over the absence of the former governor, but however, declined the request to revoke his bail and adjourned further hearing in the matter till September 20.