By Ikechukwu Nnochiri – Abuja
The Court of Appeal in Abuja, on Wednesday, nullified the Federal High Court judgement that convicted and sentenced a former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olisa 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 judgement trial Justice Okon Abang delivered against Metuh on February 25, was tainted with bias.
The appellate court held that the trial Judge had by disparaging remarks he made in the judgement, betrayed his premeditated mindset against the Defendant 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.
It will be recalled that Metuh was jailed over the allegation that he received the sum of N400million from the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, retd, 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.