Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Monday, November 5, 2018, ordered a former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, to return to the country within the next seven days to open his defence in an alleged N7.6bn fraud trial.
Kalu is standing trial alongside his former Commissioner for Finance, Ude Udeogu and a company, Slok Nigeria Limited, on an amended 39-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N7.6bn.
At the resumed hearing on Monday, the counsel to the former governor, Awa Kalu, SAN, told the court that his client had travelled to Germany for a surgical operation. He further told the court that the former governor had been advised by his doctors to remain in Germany for some time to recuperate.
Counsel to the first defendant, who said the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, was aware of the development, therefore, urged the Judge to further adjourn the case.
However, the prosecution counsel, Jacobs, said he was surprised at Kalu’s absence from court, adding that he did not know if or when the ex-governor obtained the court’s permission to travel out.
Jacobs stated that the former governor, who was ordered to submit his international passport to the court as part of his bail conditions, must always apply to the court for the passport whenever he wishes to travel out of the country. .
“I am not aware when the first defendant wanted to travel. We only got to know that the first defendant travelled abroad for medical treatment through his media aide, one Kunle Oyewunmi.
“Things must be done in accordance with the Law. In my own view, what happened is that the first defendant has jumped bail. .
“This is an attempt to further frustrate this trial because no application was made to the court to travel.
“I urge Your Lordship to treat the absence of the first defendant as that he has jumped bail.”