The Federal High Court on Thursday in Abuja granted Olisa Metuh, National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, leave to file a no-case-submission on charges of money laundering preferred against him. Metuh is standing trial for allegedly receiving the sum of 2 million dollars (about N400 million) from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).
Ruling on the defendant’s intention to file the application, Justice Abang Okon held that it was Metuh’s right to do so. “I have heard and distilled the oral application seeking leave of the Court for the defendant to approach it with a no-case-submission. “This falls within the purview of the Court’s practice direction on criminal matters such as this.
“The amended Administration of Criminal Justice Act is also amenable to this kind of procedure; it is hereby granted. “I therefore order Counsel to the defendant to file the process today and the prosecuting counsel is given three days within which to file his reply. “As with the practice, counsel to the defendant is given another one day to reply on point of law.
“February 25 is therefore reserved for the adoption of the written addresses,” Abang held. Earlier, Mr Sylvanus Tahir, the prosecuting counsel, had sought the leave of the Court to file an amended version of the charge. Tahir, who assured the court and defence team that the amendment made to the charge did not affect the thrust of the charge, said only two words were required to be changed.
After granting the prayer, Metuh was re-arraigned for the Court to take his fresh plea and he pleaded not guilty to the seven-count charge. The judge re-admitted him to the existing bail. After the slight drama, Chief Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), counsel to Metuh notified the court of his client was interested in filing a no-case-submission. Ikpeazu said the application hinged on Sections 302, 303 and 357 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
The prosecution team did not raise objections to the application. The prosecution closed its case last week which left the court the opportunity for the defendant to open his defence on Feb. 18.