The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has fixed October 14 for the arraignment of former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, over alleged N400 million fraud.
The date was fixed following the absence of the new trial Judge, Obiora Egwuatu, in court despite that all the parties in the matter, including Metuh, were in court. But Metuh’s retrial could not proceed because of the judge’s absence.
The Court of Appeal, Abuja had on December 16, 2020, nullified a Federal High Court judgment that convicted and sentenced Metuh to seven years imprisonment for money laundering.
In a unanimous decision, a three-man panel of Justices of the appellate court held that the judgment of the trial Judge, Okon Abang, delivered against Metuh on February 25, 2020, was tainted with bias.
The appellate court held that Abang, had by the disparaging remarks he made in the judgement, betrayed his premeditated mindset against the defendant (Metuh) whom he accused of writing various petitions against him.
According to Justice Stephen Adah, who delivered the lead verdict of the appellate court, allowing the trial court’s verdict to stand “will set a dangerous precedent”.
Consequently, it voided the conviction and sentence that was handed to Metuh and his firm, Destra Investment Limited, and remitted the case file back to the high court for a re-trial by another judge.
Although Metuh’s matter was on number six in the Wednesday’s cause list, the retrial could not commence.
Metuh was jailed over the allegation that he received the sum of N400 million from the former National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), prior to the 2015 presidential election without contract approval or execution.
His earlier conviction followed a seven-count charge that was preferred against him and his firm by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).