Appeal court nullifies Olisa Metuh’s conviction

The court of appeal sitting in Abuja has nullified the seven-year jail sentence handed down to Olisa Metuh, former spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Metuh on seven counts of money laundering for allegedly receiving N400 million from the office of the national security adviser.

On February 25, 2020, a high court in Abuja pronounced him guilty on all counts of money laundering and sentenced him to seven years in prison.

In its ruling on Thursday, the appeal court held that the judge, Okon Abang, exhibited bias in the case of the former PDP spokesman.

A three-man panel of the appeal court led by Justice Stephen Adah in a unanimous judgment held that the proceedings of the Federal High Court leading to the conviction of Metuh and his company, Destra Investment Limited, were tainted with bias and therefore must not be allowed to stand.

Justice Adah who delivered the lead judgment on Wednesday held that the utterances of Justice Okon Abang in the course of the trial, established that he was biased against the convicts.

The court in another judgment citing similar grounds of bias nullified the sentencing of Metuh’s company, Dextra Nigeria Limited.

The panel also held that the Federal High Court made damaging comments against Dasuki without giving him a fair hearing.

Justice Adah held that Dasuki was not being charged as a co-defendant in the case or given any opportunity to defend himself and that the comments made against Dasuki were unwarranted.

The Appellate Court, therefore, ordered that trial be conducted afresh.

The court directed that the case file be sent back to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for reassignment to another judge other than Justice Abang.

Justice Abang had in his judgment delivered on February 25, sentenced Metuh to seven years imprisonment for fraudulently receiving N400 million from the office of the then National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retired).

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