•As PDP publicity scribe is hospitalised
From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
For the second time in two weeks, the trial of the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh suffered a setback on account of his ill health.
But, the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang in a short ruling faulted the report, which he said did not indicate the duration that would be enough for Metuh’s bed rest.
“The medical report issued by Dr. O.O Oleyele, a consultant neurosurgeon placed 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 adjourn 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 that he will deliver his ruling on Metuh’s request to seek medical treatment abroad today. Metuh said his decision to seek medical treatment abroad was based on advice that he should undergo a spinal cord surgery at a good hospital.
The PDP publicity scribe said his health deteriorated when he fell recently during a meeting of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. “When I fell from the chair, I had a spinal compression and it aggravated the problem.”
Metuh said he was afraid of the operation as it could lead to complications.
“To be honest, I am really scared of a spinal cord operation. It can lead to paralysis; it can cause many things,” said Mr. Metuh, who walked more carefully at the court premises.”
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) 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. The matter was adjourned to yesterday for the fifth defence witness, Mr.Richard Ihedioha to continue his evidence in chief.
However, when the case was called with the witness already in the box, counsel to Metuh, Mr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, informed the court that Metuh could not make it to court because he was placed on bed rest at the National Hospital, Abuja.
The lawyer tendered a letter signed by one Dr. O.O Oyeyele, a consultant neurosurgeon in the National Hospital, Abuja to back his claim. He consequently asked the court for adjournment to enable him adequate time to recover and stand his trial. Counsel to the second defendant, Destra Investment Limited Tochukwu Nwugbufor, supported the application saying it was proper for the court to adjourn the matter as the trial cannot proceed without the presence of the accused person.
The Prosecution counsel Sylvanus Tahir said, the application did not meet the provision 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, but did not oppose the application because it borders on the ill health of the defendant.
He urged the court to grant him an adjournment to enable him have adequate rest.