The Federal High Court in Lagos has given a former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu not more than seven days to appear before it.
Kalu who was absent at the hearing, is facing trial over allegations of fraud to the tune of N7.65 billion.
His lawyer, Professor Awa Kalu (SAN), told Justice Idris his client was away in Germany for a surgical operation. He added that the ex-governor had been advised by his doctors to remain in Germany for some time to recuperate.
The defence counsel told the court that the prosecution counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), was aware of the development and urged Justice Idris to further adjourn the case.
But the EFCC prosecutor, 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 noted that having submitted his passport to the court as part of his bail conditions, Kalu must always apply to the court for the passport whenever he wished to travel.
Describing the ex-governor’s absence from court as an attempt to frustrate the case, Jacobs urged Justice Idris to interpret Kalu’s absence to mean that he had jumped bail.
The defence counsel on the other hand, urged Justice Idris to discountenance Jacob’s argument, saying as of when Kalu travelled out, the court had adjourned the case sine die (indefinitely).
Ruling on the lawyers’ submissions, Justice Idris noted that it was true that the matter was adjourned sine die on September 27, 2018, but Kalu was, on November 2, served with a hearing notice that the case had been scheduled for Monday.
The judge also noted that the court received a mail confirming Kalu’s treatment arrangement, but he said the defence counsel failed to attach any medical report to guide the court as to Kalu’s post-surgery treatment.
Justice Idris said in the circumstance, he would, in the interest of justice, adjourn the case for the last time, stressing that Kalu must return from Germany within seven days and appear before the court.
The matter was adjourned till November 12, 2018, for the continuation of the trial.
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