Why I was absent in court – Orji Kalu - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Friday, September 14, 2018

Why I was absent in court – Orji Kalu

Dr. Orji Kalu
A Former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Kalu has said his absence in court at the last sitting was on health grounds and not in disrespect of the law.

Kalu, who is facing charges of alleged money laundering before a Federal High Court in Lagos, said the application by the counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) seeking the revocation of his bail, was uncalled for.

Justice Mohammed Idris on Monday vowed to apply the full weight of the law on former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, for absenting himself from the Federal High Court in Lagos for the continuation of his N7.65bn alleged fraud case.

The prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), contended that the former governor had no justification to be absent from the court.

“He (Kalu) cannot, on his own, extend the medical permission given to him by this court; a person going about everywhere obtaining chieftaincy title, doing politics in the country; this (surgical) appointment is contrary to the order of this court.

“Having jumped bail, I apply that his bail be revoked,” Jacobs said.

However, in a statement from Germany, where he is undergoing medical attention, Kalu said he had been diligent in attending court sittings from the inception of his case contrary to statement from EFCC counsel.

The statement read “As a respecter of the judiciary and by extension the rule of law, it is unfair and wicked for Mr. Rotimi Jacobs to have said that I absconded from facing trial.”

“I was very disappointed when I heard the statement credited to Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN). It is on record that since the commencement of this case in 2007, this is the first time I have never been present from court except the last sitting, which was beyond me.

“I have had to reschedule my surgery many times so as to be present in court at all times.

“My surgery was originally scheduled for August 1 but due to my appearance in court on July 31, I could not meet up with my surgical appointment.

“All my efforts to get a new date in August proved abortive as my doctor was on his annual family vacation and the earliest date granted was September 10.

“To catch up with the new appointment, I left Nigeria on August 31 to visit and inform my mother in the US about the surgery before departing for Germany.

“On September, ahead of my operation booked for 2.15pm, as I entered the hospital at 10.00am for preparations before moving into the theatre room, about mid-day, one of my aides Dr. Frank Osita-Chuks, rushed into the consulting room, where I was placed on drip, that my lawyer, Mr. Goddy Uche (SAN), asked me to call him on phone urgently.

“Following the approval of the nurse on duty, I immediately put a call through to my counsel, who informed me that I must be present in the next court sitting slated for September 20 and 21.

“After the telephone conversation with my lawyer, I was unhappy when he told me about what transpired in the court.

“Thereafter, I had to ask for my doctor’s advice, who did not hide his displeasure over incessant cancellations of the long overdue surgery, who bluntly told me that once the operation is conducted, healing will not take less than 5 weeks and as such if I want to make the next court sitting, I had better, again, reschedule the surgical operation for September 24, based on his schedule.”

-Daily Post

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