You have Case to Answer on Alleged N400m Fraud, Supreme Court Tells Metuh


By Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the appeal of the former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, insisting the former spokesman must respond to the money laundering charges against him.

The apex court in affirming the judgment of the Court of Appeal held that the appeals by the appellants failed to comply with constitutional requirement.

The former PDP image maker and his company, Destra Investments Limited are standing trial on allegations of fraudulently receiving N400m from the office of the National Security Adviser. Metuh is also accused of laundering another $2m.

The Court of Appeal had upheld the ruling of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which dismissed Metuh’s no-case submissions, on grounds that the appeals were incompetent.

This prompted Metuh and his company to proceed to the Supreme Court to seek reversal of the appellate court’s decision.

However, the apex court in its verdict delivered yesterday on the separate appeals filed by Metuh and his company, affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which had earlier dismissed Metuh’s appeal seeking to set aside the decision of the Federal High Courts.

According to the Court of Appeal, Metuh and his company failed to first obtain the leave of either the trial court or the appellate court before filing a notice of appeal as required by the Constitution when filing an appeal against an interlocutory decision, on the grounds of mixed law and facts.

The Court of Appeal had held that the appellants having failed in that regard their appeals were incompetent and the court lacked jurisdiction to hear them.

Delivering judgment, the Supreme Court held that as much as the Court of Appeal lacked the jurisdiction to hear the appeals, it too could not entertain the appeal arising from the incompetent appeals before the court below.

Though, the verdict of the apex court was read by Justice Ejembi Eko, it was however prepared by Justice Datijo Mohammed, who headed the five-man panel of the apex court.

 The Supreme Court held that, “By section 233 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), appeals from the Court of Appeal to this court lies only against the decisions of that court.

“Such decisions evolve from the Court of Appeal upon the exercise of jurisdiction over appeals from the court below.

“Where the Court of Appeal lacks the necessary jurisdiction, in the first place, to hear and determine the appeal before it, such as in the instant case, no decision of the court against the competent appeal lies to this court.

“It is for that reason I strike out the incompetent appeal and affirm the judgment of the lower court below.”

Other members of the panel include, Justices Kudirat Kekeree-Ekun, John Okoro, Chima Nweze and Ejembi Eko, who all agreed with the lead judgment.