A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday has fixed October 14 for the arraignment of former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Olisa Metuh, over an alleged N400 million fraud.
The date was fixed following the absence of the new trial Judge, Obiora Egwuatu, in court, although other parties in the matter, including Metuh, were present.
It would be recalled that a Court of Appeal in Abuja had on December 16, 2020, nullified a Federal High Court judgment that convicted and sentenced Metuh to seven years imprisonment for money laundering.
A three-man panel of Justices of the appellate court had in a unanimous decision, held that the judgment of the trial Judge, Okon Abang, delivered against Metuh on February 25, 2020, was biased.
The court held that Abang, had in the reproachful remarks he made in the judgement, betrayed his premeditated mindset against the defendant whom he accused of writing various petitions against him.
Justice Stephen Adah, who delivered the lead verdict of the appellate court, had stated that 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 would be recalled that Metuh was jailed over the allegation that he received the sum of N400 million from the former National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), before 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).