From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
JUSTICE Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, dashed the hopes of National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh when it dismissed his ‘no case’ submission over his alleged diversion of N400 million meant for the procurement of arms for “lacking in merit.”
The court, in its ruling, held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has established a prima facie case against him and ordered that he should open his defence.
Metuh and his company, Dastra Investment Limited are facing a seven-count charge of receiving N400 million from the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd).
Metuh in a ‘no case’ submission prayed the court to dismiss the charges against him on the grounds that the prosecution counsel has established no prima facie case against him. However, the judge ruled that the EFCC has made a prima facie case of money laundering against him and that it is left for him now to defend himself.
In a related development, the EFCC yesterday arraigned former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh (retd), on a 10-count charge of corruption and criminal breach of trust.
Although he pleaded not guilty to all the counts and expressed his willingness to defend himself, Justice Abang ordered his remand at Kuje Prison after holding that his bail application was premature.
Justice Abang said Badeh’s bail application, having been filed before his arraignment, robbed the court of its jurisdiction to hear it.
He said the court can only hear a bail application filed after an accused person has been arraigned and not before his arraignment.
Badeh’s counsel, Samuel Zibiri (SAN), had drawn the attention of the court to a pending bail application which he filed before the arraignment.
After striking out the earlier bail application, the court ordered that a fresh bail application be filed and to be argued today.
Meanwhile, the court has fixed proper trial for March 14 on day-to-day basis in line with its practice direction.
Justice Abang warned that his court would not entertain unnecessary applications for adjournments from any of the parties.