The court of appeal in Abuja has set aside the indictment of Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser, in the judgment which convicted Olisa Metuh, former spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Metuh on seven counts of money laundering for allegedly receiving N400 million from Dasuki.
Dasuki who was named in the alleged $2.1 billion arms purchase scandal is facing charges of corruption, though his trial has often been stalled.
On February 25, 2020, the trial court found the former PDP spokesman guilty on all counts of money laundering and sentenced him to seven years in prison.
But the court of appeal on Thursday voided Metuh’s conviction and ordered a retrial on the grounds that Okon Abang, the trial judge, was biased in the course of the trial.
In a separate appeal, Dasuki asked the appellate court to quash parts of the trial court’s judgment which was indictive of him.
The EFCC had objected to the former NSA’s appeal on the grounds that the appellant was not an accused person in the criminal proceedings.
But Stephen Adah who read the judgment on behalf of a three-man panel of the appellate court held that section 36 of the constitution gives Dasuki the right to appeal.
“He can appeal as a matter of right,” the court held.
“There is no argument about the fact that certain lines of this judgment have indicted indeed this appellant.
“The only role the appellant played was that he was subpoenaed as a witness and he was never involved as an accused person.
“He was not in the charge, his plea was not taken, yet so many damaging things were said about him. And it is with this respect that we see that the complaints of this appellant in this appeal are justified.
“Ordinarily, someone who is accused of an offence is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This man was not charged and a lot of things indicting and convicting him were found in this judgment.
“It is in this respect that we believe that his complaints cannot in any way be faulted.
“This appeal brought by this application is hereby allowed and every strand of those lines that he complained about which we have seen are hereby nullified.”