NEWS

EFCC Tells Court “Send Olisa Metuh Back To Prison”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has urged the Supreme Court to send Olisa Metuh back to prison.

Mr Metuh, an ex-spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was sentenced to seven years in jail for money laundering on February 25, 2020, but got out of prison in December 2020 after the Court of Appeal in Abuja nullified his previous trial and ordered retrial.

The Court of Appeal had without considering the merit of the money laundering charges, set aside the proceedings leading to Mr Metuh’s conviction by the Federal High Court in Abuja on the grounds that the trial judge allegedly exhibited bias against the ex-spokesperson of the PDP and his legal team.

On December 24, 2020, a judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Nkeonye Maha, granted a N250 million bail to Mr Metuh and permission to travel abroad pending the commencement of his retrial.

But the EFCC, which seems not to be too keen about pursuing a retrial, on January 27, 2021, filed six grounds of appeal at the Supreme Court to challenge the December 16, 2020 verdict of the Court of Appeal which ordered the fresh trial.

In the EFCC’s notice of appeal, the commission’s lawyer, Sylvanus Tahir, who has led the prosecution team from the inception of the case in January 2016, argued that the judgment of the Court of Appeal “occasioned a gross miscarriage of justice.”

The anti-graft agency urged the Supreme Court to set aside “the judgment of the lower court which nullified the judgment of the trial court and remitted the case back to the trial court for a fresh trial.”

It also sought an order “for the invocation/application by the Supreme Court of section 22 of the Supreme Court Act to do what the Court of Appeal ought to have done in going into the merits of the case as determined by the trial court to decide if the appeal should have been dismissed or not.”

Other prayers sought by appellant are: “An order de-nullifying the nullification of the judgment of the trial court by the court below and reinstating the conviction, sentences and fines imposed on the 1st respondent (Mr Metuh) by the judgement of the trial court.

“An order committing/reinstating the 1st respondent back to the Correctional Centre at Kuje (Abuja) to complete his term of imprisonment.”

The commission, however, put forward an alternative prayer which is an order setting aside the Court of Appeal’s judgment and another that the appeal be heard on merit by another panel of the Court of Appeal.

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