The trial of the former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, failed to hold on Tuesday after prosecution witness failed to show up for hearing.

It is a case filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Kalu was arraigned alongside his former aide, Jones Udeogu, and a company, Slok Nig. Ltd, on Oct. 31, 2016 by the EFCC.

They were charged before Justice Mohammed Idris on a 34-count charge bordering on 3.2 billion Naira fraud.

They pleaded not guilty.

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When the case was called on Tuesday, the EFCC’s counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, informed the court that the matter was for continuation of trial, but his witness was absent.

Jacobs told the court that the witness, Mike Udoh, had repeatedly made himself unavailable whenever he was due to appear in court to give evidence.

He accused some unknown persons of being behind Udoh’s absence, adding that such persons would also be prosecuted.

The EFCC counsel then applied for a short adjournment to enable the agency to tidy up the situation.

The counsel to Kalu, Awa Kalu, accused the EFCC of a ploy to foist an adjournment on the court.

He said that there were several other witnesses listed by the prosecution, and the absence of one witness should not delay the court.

The counsel to the second accused (Udeogu), Mr Solo Akuma (SAN), adopted Kalu’s submissions, describing the EFCC’s application for adjournment as unnecessary.

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Mr C.C. Nwofo, counsel to the third accused, Slok Nig. Ltd, also aligned himself with the submissions of other defence counsels.

In a bench ruling, Justice Idris upheld Jacob’s application for adjournment, but added that it would be his last chance.

Idris, consequently, adjourned the case until January 22 and 23 for continuation of trial. 

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