Lawyer explains status of Orji Uzor Kalu: He remains a senator unless…
A legal practitioner, Barr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani has given some insight into the status of Orji Uzor Kalu, a senator and former governor of Abia State who was jailed for 12 years over fraudulent activities and money laundering in excess of N7 billion.
According to him:
- Kalu remains a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under this new term of 4 years unless:
(a) He is recalled by his constituents.
(b) His seat declared vacant by the Senate President if he is unable to attend legislative sittings to a certain period allowed by the constitution.
(c) If he dies while serving the sentence before his term in the senate is exhausted(God forbid).
He has a right of appeal up to the Supreme Court of Nigeria. He cannot bring any application for stay of execution as Administration of Criminal Justice Act has outlawed such measures, but he can bring application for his bail pending the hearing of his appeal.
This application is not granted as of right as applicable to when he had not been convicted. For now he has lost the right of presumption of innocence given to every accused person. The ground/s upon which his bail application can be granted must be on exceptional grounds, part of which has to do with serious health challenge/s that has grievous consequences if he is allowed to remain in prison to pursue his appeal.
Due to his legal right of appeal which will take him as far as to Supreme Court, he is not in the eyes of the law yet as an Ex-convict until the final pronouncement of the highest court in the land is made about him on these offences he is alleged to have committed.
If the Supreme Court finally pronounces him guilty as charged(unless the case does not get up to that level) he will be disqualified from contesting for any future political office until after 10 years after serving.
He will answer Senator Orji Uzor Kalu for life because his election to the office of a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was confirmed recently by the Court of Appeal on National Assembly and Gubernatorial Election Matters.
If he is finally confirmed guilty by the Supreme Court, he can contest election in Nigeria for any position only after 10 solid years in abeyance.