Nigerian Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has set aside the conviction and seven years jail term imposed on a former spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, after finding him guilty of money laundering charges.
A three-man 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, on behalf of the panel, 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.
Justice Abang had in his judgment delivered on February 25, 2020, sentenced Metuh to seven years’ imprisonment for fraudulently receiving N400m from the Office of the National Security Adviser then being headed by Col Sambo Dasuki.
The judge maintained that Metuh and his firm reasonably ought to have known that the N400 million paid to them formed part of the proceeds of unlawful activity of the former NSA since they had no form of contractual relationship with him.