Nigeria: Ex-Gov Orji Kalu’s Alleged N7.2 Billion Fraud Trial – Prosecution Lawyer Faces Disqualification

Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Friday issued a seven-day ultimatum to a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, to show cause on why he should not be disqualified from further prosecuting a former Abia State Governor, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu in N7.2 billion money laundering charges.

The Senior Advocate was also ordered by the court to file a motion on notice within seven days, to show cause why he should be allowed to continue to handle the trial of the corruption charges brought against Kalu by the Federal Government.

Justice Ekwo made the order while delivering a ruling on a motion filed by Rotimi Jacobs Chambers, seeking the transfer of the trial to the Lagos State division of the court.

In this ruling, the Judge held that the Senior Advocate and his team have engaged in gross abuse of the court process, in ways and manners the Prosection was being handled.

The Judge ordered that the motion on notice would be adopted on October 31, during which the court would determine the fate of the senior Lawyer one way or the other.

He dismissed the request to transfer the trial to Lagos, on the ground that only the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, can do so in line with Section 98 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

Justice Ekwo held that the Prosecution had twice written the Chief Judge requesting for the transfer, which the Chief Judge declined to do, adding that he ought to abide by the decision of the court authorities.

In the alternative, Justice Ekwo held that the Prosecution was at liberty to go back to the Supreme Court, to seek for review of the order that remitted the trial to the Federal High Court.

The Judge said that granting the request will lead to a breach of Section 235 of the 1999 Constitution, and challenge the finality and supremacy of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

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