The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Wednesday ruled that the former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, has a case to answer.
The court dismissed the appeal and said it was satisfied that Metuh has a case to answer pertaining to the N400million that was transferred from Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, into his company account.
In their unanimous judgment, a three-man panel of Justices of the appellate court led by Justice Abdul Aboki, held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), established a prima-facie case to warrant explanations from the defendant.
The appellate court held that trial Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja was right when he dismissed Metuh’s no-case-submission.
“From evidence adduced before the trial court, can it be said that the 1st defendant has no case to answer?
“The case of the prosecution has raised several questions that only the defendant can answer. It is evident that from testimonies of the eight witnesses called by the prosecution that issues of fact were raised to warrant explanations from the appellant.
“There is need for the defendant to either accept or deny the allegations against him”, the appellate court held.
Justice Aboki who read the lead verdict, maintained that the prosecution having closed its case, the burden of defence shifted to the appellant who he said is “entitled to give explanations as to what actually transpired”.
“There is no merit in this appeal and it is accordingly dismissed”, Justice Aboki held.
“The appellant is hereby ordered to proceed to enter his defence to the seven-count charge against him”, the appellate court held.
Metuh who is facing trial alongside his company, Destra Investment Limited had gone before the appellate court to challenge the dismissal of a no-case submission he entered before the high court.
He equally challenged the refusal of trial Justice Abang to hands-off his case despite allegations of bias that were raised against him. Metuh and his firm lodged two separate appeals against Justice Abang.
The appellants prayed the appellate court to quash the charge against them on the premise that the EFCC failed to establish a prima-facie criminal case against them.
Earlier on Wednesday, a Federal High Court in Abuja rejected an application by Metuh for the release of his passport to enable him travel to the United Kingdom for treatment.
The trial Judge Justice Okon Abang had said because there was a subsisting order directing Metuh to deposit his international passport with the Chief Registrar of the High Court as part of his bail conditions, his hands were tied to grant the request.
In dismissing the application, Abang said: “This is not a case of sympathy, but a case of law. This court has no jurisdiction to entertain this application,”
“The court is not Father Christmas to give to the defendant what it did not ask for.
“The application lacks merit. It is accordingly dismissed. The court cannot set aside its decision.”