N400m Fraud: Metuh loses at Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of Nigeria on Friday, February 9, dismisses the no-case submission filed by Olisa Metuh, a former national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, in respect of N400 million money laundering and fraud case preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission

 

THE Supreme Court on Friday, February 9, ruled that Olisa Metuh, a former national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had a case to answer in respect of the money laundering charges against him. Metuh is on trial in a case instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in respect of money laundering involving N400m and $2m.

A five-man panel of the Supreme Court justices ruled on the separate appeals filed by Metuh and Destra Investments Limited, his company, and unanimously affirmed the May 25, 2016 judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja that the PDP chieftain had a case to answer.

The Court of Appeal had dismissed Metuh’s appeals for being incompetent, and also upheld the March 9, 2016 decision of Justice Okon Abang of the federal high court, Abuja dismissing the defendants’ no-case submission.

The judgment of the Court of Appeal, which was affirmed by the Supreme Court on Friday, February 9, had held that the appeals by the appellants failed to comply with constitutional requirement.

According to the Court of Appeal, Metuh and his company failed to first obtain the leave of either the trial court or the appellate court before filing a notice of appeal as required by the Constitution when filing an appeal against an interlocutory decision, on the grounds of mixed law and facts.

The Court of Appeal had held that the appellants having failed in that regard their appeals were incompetent and the court lacked jurisdiction to hear them.

Justice Dattijo Mohammed, who led the five-man panel of the Supreme Court and prepared the leading judgment affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal on Friday.

The judgment which was read on his behalf by Justice Ejembi Eko, the court resolved that as much as the Court of Appeal lacked the jurisdiction to hear the appeals, the Supreme Court also could not entertain the appeal arising from the incompetent appeals before the court below.

The court further affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal, saying: “By section 233 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), appeals from the Court of Appeal to this court lies only against the decisions of that court.

“Such decisions evolve from the Court of Appeal upon the exercise of jurisdiction over appeals from the court below.

“Where the Court of Appeal lacks the necessary jurisdiction, in the first place, to hear and determine the appeal before it, such as in the instant case, no decision of the court against the competent appeal lies to this court.

“It is for that reason I strike out the incompetent appeal and affirm the judgment of the lower court below.”

Other members of the panel –Kudirat Kekeree-Ekun, John Okoro, Chima Nweze and Ejembi Eko, all justices – agreed with the leading judgment.

The EFCC is prosecuting Metuh and Destra Investments Limited, on seven counts of money laundering involving allegations of receiving N400m fraudulently from the Office of the National Security Adviser in 2014.

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