In a significant legal development, the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal has made a decisive ruling regarding the trial of Senator Orji Kalu, the former governor of Abia State.

On Wednesday, a three-member panel of justices unanimously dismissed an appeal filed by the Federal Government seeking to reopen Senator Kalu’s trial. The court found that the government’s submission of the record of appeal was flawed, lacking the proper authentication and designation as required by the court’s rules.

Justice J. O. K. Oyewole, delivering the lead verdict, emphasized that the deficiencies in the record rendered the appeal incompetent, leading to the dismissal of the government’s two appeals against Senator Kalu and his firm.

Previously, Senator Kalu had been convicted and sentenced to a 12-year jail term by a Federal High Court in Lagos, alongside his company, Slok Nigeria Limited, and a former director of finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu. The conviction was based on allegations of embezzling about N7.1 billion from the Abia State Treasury.

However, the Supreme Court overturned Udeogu’s conviction upon appeal, citing irregularities in the trial process. The apex court noted that the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, who had delivered the original judgement, had been elevated to the Court of Appeal before the conviction was handed down. Consequently, the Supreme Court ruled that Justice Idris lacked the jurisdiction to preside over the case as a High Court judge, thereby nullifying the conviction.

In light of the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of Udeogu, Senator Kalu was also released from prison. This latest ruling by the Court of Appeal adds another layer to the legal saga surrounding Senator Kalu’s trial, further emphasizing the importance of adherence to procedural rules and due process in the administration of justice.