Court Strikes out EFCC’s Alleged Money Laundering Suit against Metuh
Alex Enumah in Abuja
Justice Emeka Nwite of a Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja, yesterday struck out the alleged money laundering suit against former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, for being an abuse of court process.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had dragged Metuh to court for retrial in the alleged money laundering charge in line with the judgment of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal.
While Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court had found the former spokesman of the PDP and his company, Destra Investments Limited, guilty of the money laundering charge, the appellate court had faulted the verdict and ordered a retrial.
Following the order, the Commission went back to file a seven-count criminal charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/05/2022 against Metuh and Destra Investments Ltd.
When the matter came up yesterday, Metuh was present in court for his re-arraignment in line with the charge filed by the anti-graft agency but his lawyer, Afam Osigwe, drew the court’s attention to his client’s, “pending appeal at the Supreme Court in suit number: SC/ CR/583/2021 between FG Vs. Olisa Metuh and another.”
Osigwe stated that the EFCC in the appeal among others had asked the Supreme Court to reinstate the order of the Federal High Court which was set aside by the Court of Appeal.
“So in the light of the reliefs sought in that appeal, it will amount to an abuse of court process for a fresh prosecution to be commenced when they are asking for reinstatement.
“My learned friend representing the EFCC will also agree with me that this court will either stay proceeding or strike out the application,” he said.
Lawyer to Destra Investments Ltd, Chief Tochukwu Onwugbufor, who spoke in the same vein, said he filed a motion; a written application before the court to clear any doubt about the position of the case.
Responding, EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Olarenwaju Adeola, prayed the court not to strike out the suit, but rather adjourn it sine die (indefinitely) pending the hearing and determination of the appeal before the apex court.
In a short ruling the judge, agreed with the submissions of Osigwe and Onwugbufor, that while the matter was pending before the Supreme Court, it was a gross abuse of the court for the commission to have filed the same matter for retrial before him.
Justice Nwite held that there was no way the matter could come back to his court without resolving the issues before the Supreme Court.
“I agree with the argument of the 1st defendant concurred by the 2nd defendant that it is an abuse of court process and I so hold,” he said.
He then struck the suit out for being an abuse of court process.