Thursday, 26 May 2016

Olisa Metuh, Nnamdi Kanu lose at A’Court




The National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, and the  leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, lost their separate appeals with respect to their ongoing trials before separate judges of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The three-man panel of the appeal court led by Justice Abdul Aboki affirmed the ruling of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court dismissing the no-case submission filed by Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited.
In Kanu’s case, the same panel ruled that the decision of Justice John Tsoho, refusing to grant bail to the IPOB leader and his co-accused person was in order.
Justice Aboki  read the lead judgments in all the appeals, which were unanimously agreed to by the two other members of the  panel – Justices T. Y. Hassan and M. Mustapher.
The appeal court in the judgment in Metuh’s case, upheld the March 9 ruling by Justice Abang to the effect that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against Metuh and his company, requiring them to enter defence.
The three-man bench of the appeal court  upheld the notices of preliminary objection raised by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against the two appeals by Metuh and his company, but still went ahead to decide the appeals on merit.
In upholding the notices of preliminary objection filed by EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, the appeal court held that the appeals by Metuh and Destra were incompetent.
The court held that the appeals failed to comply with the requirement in Section 242(1) that an appellant appealing against an interlocutory decision, on either grounds of facts or mixed law and facts, must first obtain the leave of either the trial or appellate court before filing a notice of appeal.
After declaring the upholding of the notices of preliminary objection, the court proceeded to decide the appeals on merits.
The appeal court ruled that the trial judge, Justice Okon  Abang, was right to have dismissed the appellant’s no-case submission.
The appellate court also affirmed the order of Justice Okon Abang directing them to enter their defence as a prima facie case had been established against them.
In the first judgment on the appeal by Metuh, Justice Aboki identified one issue for determination, which was whether or not the prosecution had established a prima facie case against Metuh to require him to defend himself.
Justice Aboki, after analysing the argument of parties, resolved the sole issue against Metuh.
Earlier,  the court decided the appeal by Nnamdi Kanu and his two co-accused – David Nwawusi and Benjamin Madubugwu.
The Justice  Aboki-led panel upheld, in its judgment that  the January 29, 2016 ruling of Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, refusing the appellants bail, was in order.
Justice Tsoho had, in rejecting Kanu and others’ bail application, held among others, that they were charged with serious offences, including treasonable felony, that they failed to discredit the prosecution’s claim that they would jump bail.
Justice Aboki held, “Contrary to the appellants’ contention, it is my view that there was proper consideration of the proof of evidence by the trial court before the consideration of the appellants’ applications for bail.
“The trial court’s observation that the 1st applicant’s dual citizenship supports the suspicion of his escaping if granted bail, cannot be faulted.
“The exercise of its discretion was both judicially and judiciously. More so, there are other reasons, as shown from the record, why the appellants were not granted bail.”
Justice Aboki faulted the appellants’ argument that the court, in denying bail to the 2nd and 3rd appellants, failed to state any reason.
---