THE Supreme Court on Friday upheld the ruling of an appellate court which ordered Destra Investment Ltd, a company owned by the embattled former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh to go and face trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The appellate court had ordered Metuh and his company to go and answer to charges of money laundering levelled against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The appellate court on May 25, 2016 gave the ruling in an appeal filed by counsels to Metuh and Destra, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) and Tochukwu Onwugbufor (SAN) respectively, challenging the March 9, 2016 ruling of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Abang had ordered the defendants to enter defence as the prosecution had established a prima facie case against them.
The PDP chieftain and Destra Investment Limited are standing trial on seven-count charges of money laundering and alleged unlawful receipt of N400million from the Office of the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
Having lost at the Court of Appeal, Metuh (1st defendant) proceeded to the Supreme Court where his appeal was dismissed on February 9, 2017.
Similarly, the 2nd defendant (Destra) filed a separate appeal at the apex court.
However, delivering judgement on the appeal marked SC/451/2017, Justice Kumai Akaahs dismissed the case as being unmeritorious.
Akaahs in a lead judgment described the appeal as –a storm in a tea cup” and calculated at causing delay in the trial.
The Supreme Court admonished counsel to Destra, Tochukwu Onwugbufor, SAN, and other senior lawyers to always adhere strictly to the rule of law in seeking for justice.
-Senior counsel must not seek to impress their clients by assuming that their duty is to erect stumbling blocks that inhibit the cause of trial,” the court said.
-Despite the clear position of the law, counsel to the 2nd defendant (appellant) still came to this court to challenge the dismissal of the no-case-submission.
-I don”t know what they intend to teach junior lawyers who are looking up to them for experience.
More so, the apex court in a unanimous judgment said the appeal was –frivolous and vexatious“, adding that counsel to the appellant embarked on a journey to frustrate the impact of Section 36(1) of the Constitution and Section 962(2) of ACJA, 2015.
The jurist stated that though Section 962 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Administration (ACJA) provides that a defendant can raise objection to validity of charge at any time in the cause of trial.
However, Justice Akaahs said the Act provides that such an objection should be heard and ruling given alongside the judgment.
Consequently, the Supreme Court ordered that the case be remitted back to Justice Okon Abang for continuation of trial.