Debunking claims that his corruption case at the court has thawed since he started campaigning for President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election, a former governor of Abia state and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress,APC, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu has pointed out that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is vigorously prosecuting the case.
In a right of reply to an article where former presidential spokesman, Segun Adeniyi, allegedly accused him of “gallivanting” all over the country for Buhari because there is an “anti-corruption” case against him, the APC stalwart asserted that he has never asked anyone to intervene on his behalf in the matter before the Federal High Court in Lagos.
Recall that the EFCC had last month through its counsel in the corruption case of about N3bn, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, told the court that it was not deliberately delaying the trial, stating that, “The case was filed since 2007 and the defendants challenged the jurisdiction of the court up until 2015, before the Supreme Court made a final pronouncement on the issue. I cannot be forced to close my case because we need to bring the facts before the court”.
Kalu, in the article published Monday on Daily Sun, maintained that he has no apologies for campaigning for Buhari’s re-election, stating that it is what he believes in and it is his inalienable right to hold and express an opinion or belief. “I believe that Buhari’s re-election in 2019 will pave way for president of Igbo extraction in 2023!” he said.
Part of the essay reads, “How can a man who has been in court for 11 years, and whose case is still being vigorously prosecuted and a robust defence rising up to the challenge, be said to be doing what he is doing because of alleged corruption charges?
“The truth is, I have never intervened nor asked anyone to intervene on my behalf in the judicial process. I remain a firm believer in the rule of law and would rather the judicial process was fully exhausted in this matter. I am convinced I haven’t stolen a dime while I was in government. I believe many people, including Segun, know that I am being persecuted for my principled and dogged stance against former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s evil third term agenda.
“On my ongoing matter with the EFCC, that matter is still being prosecuted and it would be sub judice to speak extensively on it. However, I would like to state that, in criminal jurisprudence, cases must be proved beyond reasonable doubt to achieve conviction. Until that is achieved, I remain a bona fide free citizen of Nigeria and as such free to enjoy my right of association, right to free movement and right to hold opinion, no matter how contrary.
“I have also not interfered with the on-going trial and at no point has my trial been adjourned because I was not available in court. If you check the records of court, I have always been present to face trial. I even had to cut short my business trips to be in court. So, to make insinuations, like Segun did, is akin to attempting to force the hand of court. It also represents an effort to blackmail me to silence.”