The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday fixed October 14 for the arraignment of former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, over alleged N400 million fraud.
The date was fixed following the absence of the new trial Judge, Obiora Egwuatu, in court.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that all the parties in the matter, including Metuh, were in court.
But Metuh’s retrial could not proceed because of the judge’s absence.
NAN also reports that the Court of Appeal in Abuja, on December 16, 2020, nullified a Federal High Court judgment that convicted and sentenced Metuh to seven years imprisonment for money laundering.
In a unanimous decision, a three-man panel of Justices of the appellate court held that the judgment of the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, delivered against Metuh on February 25, 2020, was tainted with bias.
The appellate court held that Justice Abang had, by disparaging remarks he made in the judgment, betrayed his premeditated mindset against Metuh who he accused of writing various petitions against him.
According to Justice Stephen Adah, who delivered the lead verdict of the appellate court, allowing the trial court’s verdict to stand “will set a dangerous precedent”.
Consequently, it voided the conviction and sentence on Metuh and his firm, Destra Investment Limited, and remitted the case file to the High Court for a re-trial by another judge.
Although Metuh’s matter was on number six in the cause list, the retrial could not hold.
NAN reports that Metuh was jailed over the allegation that he got N400 million from the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), prior to 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).