A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday turned down the post-conviction bail request filed by a former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, who was convicted of N7.1bn fraud and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
The appeal was rejected by Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
Orji kalu the representative of Abia North in the Senate who had appealed against the judgment at the Court of Appeal, last week filed an application to be released from prison on bail pending the outcome of his appeal.
In the post-conviction bail application, which he filed through his lawyers, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) and Chief Awa Kalu (SAN), the ex-governor claimed that he was battling some health challenges which the medical facilities in the prison could not handle.
Kalu said in the application filed by his lawyers, “The applicant’s appeal is brimming with substantial grounds of law with great chance of success.
“The health condition of the applicant is in great jeopardy and the prison facilities cannot adequately cater for his health needs.
“The need for the grant of this application is also of utmost importance, considering the fact that the applicant has the mandate to represent the good people of Abia North Senatorial District in the National Assembly from 2019 to 2023.
“The applicant’s mandate to represent his people at the Senate is still extant and cannot be taken away unless he exhausts his constitutional right of appeal.
“The refusal of the applicant’s application for bail pending appeal will hinder the proper representation of the good people of Abia North Senatorial District.
“The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is mandated to sit in a year for a minimum period of 181 days, out of which a senator is constitutionally compelled to attend at least an aggregate of one-third of such sittings in a year, otherwise the seat may be declared vacant.”
However, counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), opposed the post-conviction bail application.
Justice Liman in his submission rejected Kalu’s plea for a post-conviction bail.
“It (the application for post-conviction bail) is, therefore, discountenanced,” the judge held.
Kalu was convicted and jailed on December 5, 2019 by Justice Mohammed Idris.However, he appealed against the judgment at the Court of Appeal.