A coalition of Igbo youth group, including human rights lawyers, has expressed excitement with the resumption of defence by the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu in an N7.6 billion money laundering case pending before a Lagos Federal High Court.
At a media briefing in Abuja Sunday, the leader of the coalition, Uche Okoroafor, said the resumed hearing presents Kalu with the opportunity to clear his name in the alleged money laundering charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
Speaking on behalf of the group, Okoafor urged Kalu who is the Senate Chief Whip and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to show commitment to President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war by making himself available for the trial.
The coalition noted that Kalu had earlier filed a no-case submission but that the court, presided over by Justice Mohammed Idris, had dismissed the submission on July 31, 2018, a decision that was upheld by the Court of Appeal on April 24, 2019.
The group also recalled that the Court of Appeal had similarly dismissed appeals filed by Kalu’s co-defendants challenging the jurisdiction of the court to further hear the case, following the elevation of Justice Idris to the Court of Appeal.
Pleading with Kalu not to further delay the trial with another round of medical trip abroad, the coalition regretted that the ex-governors prolonged medical trips to Germany almost stalled the trial.
The group expressed satisfaction with the directive by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, for Justice Idris to continue with the hearing of the case despite his elevation to the appellate court.
The coalition also expressed satisfaction with the decision of the trial judge directing a day-to-day hearing of the matter until the conclusion of the case.
The decision of the court, the group noted, would go a long way in restoring public confidence in the anti-corruption crusade of the Buhari administration.