(Godwin Tsa, ABUJA)
For the second time, the trial of the National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Olisa Metuh has been stalled on account of his ill health.
When the matter came up before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for the second time on two weeks suffered another setback following Metuh’s ill health.
The matter was adjourned to yesterday for the 5th defence witness, Mr.Richard Ihedioha to continue his evidence in chief.
However, when the case was called with the already in the box, counsel to Metuh, Mr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) informed the court that Metuh could not make it to court because he was placed on bed rest at the National Hospital, Abuja.
To buttress this, the lawyer tendered a letter signed by one Dr. O.O Oyeyele, a consultant neurosurgeon in the employment of the National Hospital Abuja to that effect.
He consequently asked the court to adjournment to enable him adequate time to recover and stand his trial.
Responding, counsel to the second defendant, Destra Investment Limited Tochukwu Nwugbufor (SAN), supported the application saying it was proper for the court to adjourned the matter as the trail cannot proceed without the presence of the accused person.
On his part, the Prosecution counsel Sylvanus Tahir said, although the application did not meet the application of section 266 (a)(b) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, which provides that an accused must be present in court to stand his trial, however, he is not opposing the application because it bothers on the ill health of the defendant.
He urged the court to grant him an adjournment to enable him have adequate rest.
The trial Judge Justice Okon Abang in a short ruling held that even though the doctors report was not helpful to the court because it does not specify the duration of the bed rest, it is however accord the defendant a good reason to be absent in court today.
“The medical report issued by Dr. O.O. Oleyele, a consultant neurosurgeon place a good reason for the defendant to be absent in court today.
“However, the medical report is not helpful to the court with regards to the duration of the bed rest, the doctor ought to have provided the period for the sufficient and adequate bed rest of the defendant.
“I have been wondering if the omission in the report is in good fate because it leaves room for the court to speculate.
“Since the medical report does not provide the duration of the bed rest, the court is enjoined to adjourned this matter in line with the provisions of section 306 ACJA, accordingly this matter has been adjourned to May 30, for trial” Justice Abang held.
Justice Abang held that he will deliver his ruling on Metuh’s request to seek medical treatment abroad today.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited, on charges including fraudulent collection of N400m from the Office of the National Security Adviser in November 2014 and using same for PDP’s presidential campaign.
Metuh and Destra Investments Limited are also being tried on charges of money laundering involving alleged cash transaction of $2m.