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Uzor Kalu loses appeal against N7.1bn fraud conviction

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The Court of Appeal , Abuja, has dismissed an appeal filed by Slok Nigeria Limited challenging the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court , Lagos which convicted former Abia State governor , Orji Uzor -Kalu .
Kalu , Slok and a former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogo; were convicted on December 4 for a N 7 . 1 bn fraud .
While Kalu got 12 years imprisonment, Udeogo was sentenced to 10 years in jail.
That was in a criminal charge preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission before Justice Mohammed Liman .
They were convicted for defrauding the Government of Abia State when Uzor – Kalu was governor for eight years using Slok Nigeria Limited .
The appellants had approached the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the trial court for lack of jurisdiction .
The appellants are Slok and Udeogo while the respondents are the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court , Federal Republic of Nigeria, the EFCC and Uzor – Kalu .
They contended that the Federal High Court Lagos lacked the jurisdiction to try them.
But the three- member panel in a judgment prepared and read by Justice Olabisi Ige on Wednesday dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit.
The court held that section 98( 3 ) and ( 4) of Administration of Criminal Justice Act , 2015 were not applicable to the appellants ’ case .
It held that petition must relate to allegation of wrong doing by the trial judge and that letter written by the EFCC in this case could not be said to be a petition .
The judge said, “Nothing is perversed with the decision of the trial court . The complaint of the appellants is a non – issue .
“ If a court has a jurisdiction / power, the fact of doing so under a wrong law is no reason to set it aside . The rights of the appellants were not infringed . ”
The upper court held that the appellants did not show mala fide by the chief judge and EFCC .
Besides, it held that the transfer did not curtail the Appellants right , adding that there was no element of forum -shopping in the case .

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