Alex Enumah in Abuja
An application by the former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, to compel the Department of State Services (DSS) to release the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col, Sambo Dasuki (rtd), to testify as a witness over the payment of N400million by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) to Metuh, was yesterday refused by the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Also refused by the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, was another application by Metuh seeking the release of his international passport to enable him travel abroad for medical treatment.
Delivering his ruling on the application to subpoena the former NSA to testify in the matter, the court held that the application was lacking in merit, and was done in bad faith with the intention of delaying the trial and consequently dismissed the application.
The judge said Col. Dasuki was not a compellable witness in the trial since the defendant had not made any effort to invite him and failed.
Abang stated further that there was nothing before the court to show that the defendants had made any effort to reach the authorities keeping Dasuki and it was rejected.
While stating that the application was made in bad faith and with the intention to delay the trial, the court observed that the defendants have exhausted all the adjournment they are entitled to as stipulated in Section 394 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), and as such the 1st defendant is no longer entitled to any adjournment in the matter having granted eight adjournment since the commencement of the trial.
On the other application which borders on the release of Metuh’s international passport to travel abroad for medical treatment, the court in turning down the request recalled that the same application was earlier rejected by it and wondered why the defendant is bringing up the request a second time.
Abang said: “The defendant ought to have appeal the earlier ruling. This is not a sentimental or sympathetic issue. It is purely an issue of law. The applicant should not create problem for the court.”
After the ruling, Metuh’s counsel, Onyeachi Ikpeazu (SAN), obviously not satisfied with the ruling told the court that the defendant lack confidence in the court to go on with the trial. According to him, the court has not only shown bias but clear bias against the 1st defendant and added that the ruling is against the interest of justice.
Ikpeazu therefore prayed the court to recuse itself from going on with the trial.
But prosecuting counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, urged the court not to take the allegations of bias seriously.
Meanwhile, Justice Abang after listening to the submissions in a short ruling described the statement made by Metuh’s counsel as “contemptuous” of the court.
Justice Abang also threw out the applicant for the court to recuse itself for lacking in merit saying, there is nothing before the court to show that it was bias in its earlier ruling and directed Ikpeazu to call his witness to continue the trial.
Metuh is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly receiving the sum of N400million from the former NSA and using same for the campaign activities of the PDP in the 2015 general election.