Anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, has explained why convicted former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, cannot be granted bail.
On Tuesday, Kalu’s counsel, Mr Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), had informed the court of a bail application he filed on behalf of the former governor seeking to be released on bail pending the outcome of his appeal against the judgment.
However, EFCC counsel, Mr RotimI Jacobs (SAN), opposed the bail application, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
“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 crystallised into guilt and conviction,” he said.
According to Jacobs, an application for bail pending appeal is sparingly granted.
He said that such a bail could be granted in a situation where the term of imprisonment would have elapsed before determination of the appeal.
He argued that that was not the situation with Kalu’s case.
On Kalu’s health condition, Jacobs said that there was no recent medical report to show his state of health, arguing that the medical report tendered in his case was done more than a year ago.
Jacobs added that the request by Kalu to be released on bail so as to seek traditional medicine was not tenable, as visitors were allowed into the custodial centre.
“He says he needs his herbalist to treat him but he has not said that his herbalist came to the prison and was not allowed to see him.
“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 carryout his official functions,” he said.
Citing the case of Federal Republic of Nigeria vs Joshua Dariye, he argued that the Nigerian criminal jurisprudence was robust enough to handle appeal and dispense with same within a reasonable time.
Besides, he argued that the medical facilities at the Ikoyi Custodial Centre were capable of handling Kalu’s medical condition.
The case was adjourned until December 23 for ruling on the bail application.
SaharaReporters, New York