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The Federal High Court in Abuja has set aside the conviction and seven years jail term imposed on a former spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, after finding him guilty of money laundering charges.
A three-person panel led by Justice Stephen Adah in a unanimous judgment, delivered on Wednesday, held that the proceedings of the Federal High Court leading to the conviction of Metuh and his company, Destra Investment Limited, were tainted with bias, and therefore must not be allowed to stand.
Justice Adah, who delivered the lead judgment, held that the utterances of the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, in the course of the trial, established that he was biased against the convicts.
He, therefore, ordered that trial be conducted afresh.
He directed that the case file be sent back to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for reassignment to another judge other than Justice Abang.
NewsWireNGR recalls that, In February 25, 2020, the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday found a former spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, guilty of a seven-count charge of laundering N400 million.
Justice Okon Abang who delivered the judgement, which lasted for about five hours, found Mr Metuh guilty in a trial that started in 2016.
Mr Metuh was arrested on January 5, 2015, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He was arraigned by the anti-graft agency alongside his company, Destra Investment, on an amended seven-count charge of diversion of the money received when Sambo Dasuki who was the National Security Adviser.
Apart from the N400 million, which he was accused of laundering, the former PDP spokesperson was also accused of transacting with the sum of $2 million without going through a financial institution, in violation of a provision of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
Mr Metuh had told the court that the N400 million was spent on a “special national assignment.”
The defendants had on February 18, 2016, pleaded not guilty to all the counts.
In the course of the trial, the prosecution called eight witnesses while the first defendant (Mr Metuh) called 14 witnesses and himself as the fifteenth witness, while the second defendant called one witness.