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TRIAL STALLED AS OLISA METUH APPEARS IN COURT ON STRETCHER

By Iyanu Oluwajomiloju…/

 

The embattled National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olisa Metuh, was on Monday, February 5, 2018 brought to court on a stretcher in compliance with the court’s order that he must appear today or risk being arrested.

Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had on Thursday, January 25, 2018 threatened to revoke the bail granted Metuh, for failure to attend court three times consecutively (January 23- 25) without reasonable excuse.

Metuh’s counsel, Onyeachi Ikpeazu, SAN, had on January 23, 2018 told the court that Metuh was on admission at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State for an undisclosed ailment. He tendered a medical report dated January 22, to support the claim.

The prosecution who had closed its case over a year ago believed that Metuh’s continued absence in court was ploy to delay trial and frustrate the cause of justice.

Consequently, Sylvanus Tahir, counsel to the EFCC, through an oral application, urged the court to revoke the bail it granted Metuh and cause him to be reporting from the prison custody to attend his trial.

Justice Abang in granting Tahir’s prayer held that, “the medical report relied on by Metuh to stay away from court was fraudulently smuggled into the court’s file and aimed at forcing the court to stay proceedings in the trial indefinitely.

The judge wondered how a medical report purportedly issued in Nnewi, Anambra State, could find its way to the court’s file in Abuja within 24 hours!

The judge, however, adjourned but with a stern warning that the bail earlier granted to Metuh would be revoked if he failed to appear in court today to stand his trial.

At the resumed sitting, Metuh was brought to court on stretcher.

His counsel, Ikpeazu, pleaded with the court to give the defendant at least one month adjournment to enable him recover and continue with his trial.

Justice Abang, in granting the request for the adjournment said, “I am inclined to adjourn this matter to allow the first defendant recover and stand his trial. I have seen the condition that he is”. The case was thereafter adjourned to March 14 -15, 2018 for continuation of defence.

Metuh is standing trial alongside his company, Destra Investment Limited, on a 7-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N400million, a sum he allegedly collected from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, ahead of the 2015 general election.

The offence breaches Section 15(2), (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act”.