The Supreme Court on Friday remitted the corruption trial of PDP chieftain, Olisa Metuh, back to the Federal High Court for continuation. Metuh had asked the court to determine if it was right for the EFCC to press corruption charges against him for his involvement in a contractual agreement. The latest ruling comes after Metuh lost a similar appeal at the Court of Appeal.
In the ruling by a five-member panel of Justices, led by Justice Dattijo Mohammed, the Supreme Court berated Metuhs counsel, Tochukwu Onwubufor, a senior advocate, for presenting the said application in before the apex court, despite constitutional provisions.
Justice Sumai Akaahs, who read out the judgment, said the application by Onwubufor amounted to an attempt to frustrate the ongoing trial.
Akaahs said although the applicant has a right of objection as contained in section 396 (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, he ought to have taken his objection together with the substantive application at the FHC. Such objection can only be considered along with the substantive issues and a ruling delivered on it at the time of delivery of judgment, he said. Despite these clear provisions, learned senior counsel still came up to this court challenging the ruling of the trial court. Whether a person or company or person has been accused of an infraction of the law, the duty that a senior counsel owes by the privileges bestowed on him is to help the accused person or company clear their name through due legal process and not to create the impression that his duty is to erect roadblocks to frustrate justice from running its course. I find that there is no merit in the appeal; it is a storm in a teacup. The case is remitted to the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for speedy conclusion of the case, Akaahs said.
Metuh and his company are facing a seven-count charge for alleged diversion of N400 million from the Office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
Destra Investment had through Onwubufor challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, venue of the trial, to entertain counts one and two of the charge.