Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has said it would approach the Supreme Court to set aside Wednesday December 16 decision of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, quashing the conviction of Olisa Metuh, former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, and his company, Destra Investment Limited, a statement by the commission said.
Metuh was prosecuted by the EFCC before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja on a seven count charge of illegally receiving monies to the tune of N400 million from the Office of the National Security Adviser, under Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
On February 25, 2020, Justice Abang convicted and sentenced him to seven years imprisonment.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the court, Metuh approached the appellate court with an application to set aside the ruling of the lower court, alleging among others, that the trial Judge was biased and failed to accord him fair hearing. Delivering judgment on the appeal on December 17, Justice Stephen Adah, who led a panel of three justices, agreed with the appellant that the trial judge was biased and nullified the judgment.
The appellate court then ordered a retrial of the substantive case.
“However after a review of the ruling, the EFCC has decided to approach the apex court to set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal on the grounds that the appellate court erred by restricting itself to only two grounds ( 12 and 14) of the appeal that dwell on the alleged bias of the trial judge but failed to examine the merit of the judgment of Justice Abang.
“The anti-graft agency believes that the alleged remarks by the trial judge were not sufficient to nullify the judgment which was based on material evidence and submissions of witnesses called by the prosecution.
“The EFCC believes that, as an intermediate Court, the Court of Appeal erred in ordering a retrial without considering the merit of the judgment of the lower court,” a statement from the anti-graft agency said.