By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The trial of former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Olisa Metuh, for allegations of corruption and money laundering was on Tuesday stalled at a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja due to the inability of Metuh to appear in court and face the charges.
At the resumption of trial, Metuh’s counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu, told the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, that his client’s health condition has deteriorated, leading to his being placed on bed rest at the National Hospital, Abuja. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in a seven-count charge accused Metuh of receiving the sum of N400 million from the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, through his company, Destra Investment Ltd.
Metuh and Destra Investments Limited are also being tried on charges of money laundering involving alleged cash transaction of $2 million.
Abang had on Monday adjourned till Tuesday for the continuation of the testimony of the fifth defence witness (DW5), Mr. Richard Ihediwa.
Ikpeazu who sought for an adjournment of the matter on the grounds that section 352(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice (ACJA), 2015, in which the judge is allowed to proceed with a criminal trial without the defendant’s presence in court had not arisen.
Ikpeazu then passed a medical report, signed by a consultant neurosurgeon in the hospital, Dr. O.O Olaleye, to the court registrar, confirming that Metuh was in the hospital for a bed rest.
However, prosecution counsel, Slvanus Tahir, who was reluctant to oppose the application drew the court’s attention to section 266(a) and (b) of the ACJA which makes it mandatory for a defendant to be present in court whenever his trial comes up.
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