The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Tuesday, explained why it opposed a post-conviction bail application filed by a convicted former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu.
It was also learnt that the bail application was brought before Justice Muhammed Liman of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Kalu was convicted and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for N7.65bn fraud by Justice Muhammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos on December 5.
EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren said this in a statement in Abuja
“Kalu, in the 34-paragraph further affidavit with one exhibit attached, also argued that the offences for which he was convicted and jailed were bailable.
“He, therefore, prayed the court to free him, while he challenges his conviction at the Court of Appeal”.
However, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, counsel to the respondent, EFCC, opposed the application for post-conviction bail, saying, “Although bail is generally a right of an accused as guaranteed by the Constitution, it is not a right available to a convict because the presumption of innocence had crystallized into guilt and conviction.
“An application for bail pending appeal is sparingly granted.”
Jacobs further stated that such a bail could be granted in a situation, where the term of imprisonment would have elapsed before the determination of the appeal.
“But that is not the situation in Kalu’s case,” he further said.
According to Jacobs, the medical report tendered in the case was obtained over a year ago.
“There is no recent medical report to show his state of health.”
Also, Jacobs reportedly argued that the request to be released on bail so as to seek traditional medicine is not tenable, as visitors are allowed into the Custodial Centre.
Jacobs, who said the medical facilities at the Ikoyi Custodial Centre are capable of handling Kalu’s condition, also told the court that “In one breath, the applicant is saying that he wants to be released on health grounds; while in another breath, he is saying that as a Senator, he needs to be released on bail so as to carry out his official functions.”
In his ruling, Justice Liman adjourned the case to December 23, for ruling on the application.
Signup for FREE news updates, latest information and hottest gists everyday/Advertise on NigerianEye.com