The Supreme Court has overturned the conviction and 12-year prison sentence handed to former governor of Abia, Orji Uzor-Kalu by a federal high in Lagos for stealing N7.1bn from Abia State.
The Court on Friday ordered for a fresh trial of Uzor-Kalu asking the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to reassign the the cases.
A seven-man panel of the court led by Amina Augie ruled that the trial judge, Mohammed Liman lacked to powers to sit as a hight court judge when he convicted Uzor-Kalu, his company Slok Nigeria and former director of finance in Abia, Jones Udeogu for stealing N7.1bn from Abia treasury.
Justice Liman, the Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled that Liman was no longer a judge of the Federal High Court at the time he delivered the judgement, after having been elevated to the Court of Appeal.
The justices also ruled that the fiat issued to Liman by the Court of Appeal President pursuant to Section 396(7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act was unconstitutional.