Dasukigate: Supreme Court Rejects Metuh’s Appeal

The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that a former spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, should face trial for alleged fraud.

Mr. Metuh is standing trial for allegedly diverting N400 million from the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

The trial judge, Okon Abang, had in March 2016 ruled that Mr. Metuh and his company, Destra Investment, had a case to answer in the seven-count charge of fraud brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The ruling was upheld by the Court of Appeal in May 2016, resulting in a Supreme Court appeal.

In a ruling Friday, the Supreme Court gave the same reasons given by the Court of Appeal for refusing Mr. Metuh’s request.

According to the Court of Appeal, Mr. Metuh’s motion was regarded incompetent for failing to comply with constitutional provisions for the filing of such appeal.

The court said Mr. Metuh was wrong to have brought the appeal without first seeking the leave of the lower court, or that of the Appeal Court itself.

The Appeal Court therefore ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter, given the defective manner with which the suit was filed.

In a similar opinion, on Friday, a five-member panel of the Supreme Court, led by Dattijo Mohammed, said the court could not entertain a suit with a fundamental defect, emanating from the nature of filing at the lower court.

The unanimous judgement was read by Justice Ejembi Eko. The apex court said its decision was based on section 233 (2) of the 1999 Constitution.

“Where the Court of Appeal lacks the necessary jurisdiction, in the first place, to hear and determine the appeal before it, such as in the instant case, no decision of the court against the competent appeal lies to this court.

“It is for that reason I strike out the incompetent appeal and affirm the judgment of the lower court below,” Mr. Eko ruled.

Dasuki Loses Bid To Consolidate Charges

Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of the FCT High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja on Thursday, March 16, dismissed the application by Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), former National Security Adviser (NSA) seeking to consolidate the two separate charges preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Dasuki’s counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN) had on March 2, while moving the motion, told the court that his application dated February 22, 2017 before the court seeking to consolidate the two charges HC/ FCT/CR/42 and HC/ FCT/CR/ 43 against his client was brought pursuant to Sections 211, 212 and 213 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.

Raji, while urging the Court to grant the consolidation of the two charges argued that the motion is designed to avoid the abuse of court processes and double jeopardy.

However, EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) opposed the application vehemently, informing the court, of a counter affidavit he had filed dated February 28, 2017.

He told the court that, “the application is very unfortunate” arguing that “there was a similar application by the defendant dated May 21, 2016 before the court on the same prayer which was yet to be moved and never withdrawn and so it is a clear abuse of process.”

Jacobs reminded the court that all parties had agreed to have the two cases tried before the same judge which necessitated a letter from the then NBA President, J. B. Daudu, to the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court advising that the two cases be handled by a judge in the interest of speedy dispensation of justice.

The learned silk, who described the application as a ploy to frustrate the trial, urged the court to discountenance and dismiss it.

Justice Baba-Yusuf, while dismissing the application today, held that, “the allegation of double jeopardy was not substantiated because trial has not commenced in the other matter, so it is premature to consolidate the charges”.

The judge also held that, “it is unfounded that simultaneous prosecution of the two cases is an abuse of court process because the dramatic personnel are not the same and the transactions on the two charges are not carried out on the same date”.

The case has been fixed for March 17, 2017 for trial.

Dasuki is facing a 22-count charge of illegal diversion of N19.4 billion from the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA) account. He was docked alongside former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, and his son, Sagir.

Others arraigned with them are a former Director of Finance and Administration, ONSA, Shuaibu Salisu, and a former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda.

They are alleged to have conspired to steal the fund which was part of the $2.1 billion meant for the purchase of arms to combat terrorism in the North-East using a company, Dahaltu Investment Limited, listed as the 4th defendant in the charge as conduit pipe for the alleged diversion.