Alex Enumah in Abuja
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, is now one of the sureties guaranteeing bail for former spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, who is standing trial over allegations of corruption and money laundering charges.
This is sequel to the withdrawal of Dr. Olugbumi Usim-Wilson as his surety.
Usin-Wilson had on October 17 informed the Abuja division of the Federal High Court of her intention to withdraw as surety to Metuh.
Ruling on the motion yesterday, trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, held that the applicant has the right to withdraw as surety, and thus allowed the application.
The applicant was subsequently withdrawn as surety for Metuh.
Justice Abang also stressed the need for both parties, counsel and even the judges to search their conscience in all they do “because there is a great God that we will all give account to.
“If I had taken this application for withdrawal first, it means Metuh would have gone back to Kuje prisons until he secure another surety.
“That was the reason I took the application for replacement first in which Ekweremadu is now the new surety for Metuh.”
He further held that the applicant’s prayer to hold that Metuh should not harass or intimidate her was irrelevant since it did not form part of the prayers on the motion.
Recall that Usin-Wilson had in an application dated October 4 before Justice Okon Abang prayed the court to remove her name from the list of people standing as sureties for Metuh.
In the application filed and argued by her counsel, Clement Chinaka, she did not however, gave any reason for her withdrawal.
But Metuh, in a swift reaction, filed an application dated October 14, praying the court to allow him replace Usim-Wilson with Ekweremadu.
His counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), had observed that if the application for withdrawal was taken before that of replacement, his client might risk going back to prisons.
The ex-spokesman therefore urged the court to use its discretion in the matter.
Abang in his short ruling held that the court would take the application of Metuh first since he had been consistent in his trial.
The matter was then adjourned till October 27.
At the next adjourned date, the application to have the deputy Senate president replace Usin-Wilson was taken.
Relevant documents were presented and the court directed that relevant bodies and the prosecution carry out necessary verification on the documents.
However, at the resumption of the trial yesterday, counsel to the applicant told the court that his client stood as surety voluntarily and the court should allow her to withdraw since she acted in good faith.
He also prayed the court to hold that Metuh would not in any way harass or intimidate the applicant.
Responding, counsel to Metuh, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), raised a serious objection to the last prayer.
He told the court that the submissions of the applicant counsel was a joke taking too far, and prayed the court to hold that the application was not part of the prayers.
Similarly, Tochukwu Onwugbufor SAN, who argued the motion on behalf of the 2nd defendant said even though the application was made in bad fate, they are not oppose to it.
The case has been adjourned to November 30, 2016, for continuation of trial.