The convicted Orji Uzor Kalu has pleaded for court to release him to go for medical treatment. The former Governor of Abia has filed application for bail pending his appeal against his jail sentence.
Orji Uzor Kalu was sentenced on December 5, 2019 by the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos for 12 years after he was convicted of N7.56 billion fraud.
He told the court that the grounds upon which the appeal was filed were substantial and very arguable.
He argued that Section 6 of the Constitution empowered the court to hear the motion, saying it was not different from the regular motions for stay of proceedings or injunctions”For now, this is the only court with jurisdiction to entertain this application. There is no limit to the jurisdiction of a court of record like the Federal High Court to grant a motion like this.
“It is not the law that if someone is convicted, he cannot have reprieve. If the court has power to convict, it must also have power to grant a reprieve pending appeal,” Fagbemi said.
In his response, EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, while opposing Kalu’s application contended that the court indeed had the power to grant bail after conviction but faulted claims by Kalu’s lawyer as to the need for the court to grant motion because a substantial and arguable appeal has been lodged against the conviction.
According to him, the issue of a substantial appeal was one that could only be decided by the Appeal Court and as such it should not be a basis for the granting of the application.
He further noted that bail generally “is a right of an accused as guaranteed by the Constitution based on his presumption of innocence, but not granted to a convict because the presumption of innocence is no longer there.”
Oyedepo also faulted the medical reports attached to the motion by Kalu’s lawyer, saying they were obtained by him more than a year ago.
After listening to the submissions of the two parties, Justice Mohammed Liman adjourned till December 23, 2019 for ruling.