Orji Uzor Kalu, the Chief Whip of Nigeria’s senate has been freed from prison after the Supreme Court quashed his conviction for fraud.
One of Nigeria’s most colourful and popular politicians, Mr Kalu, a former two-time governor of the south-eastern state of Abia, was incarcerated in December 2019, after an agelong trial ended with a conviction for looting public funds. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had been prosecuting Mr Kalu since 2007, when his tenure as governor ended.
Mr Kalu was released from the Nigerian Correctional Facility in Kuje, Federal Capital Territory on Friday after the nation’s highest court, the Supreme Court ordered a retrial of his case in a unanimous verdict read by Justice Ejembi Eko.
The seven justices on the panel agreed that Jiustice Mohammed Idris, who handed down Mr Kalu’s conviction had no power to sit over the case since he had ceased to be a High Court judge after his elevation to the Appeal Court. The Supreme Court declared that a Justice of the Appeal Court cannot hear a case at the Federal High Court.
Sources say that Mr Kalu has moved to his residence in the Federal Capital Territory.