By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello, on Thursday ordered the former Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, to enter his defence in the alleged destruction of evidence trial before the court.
Justice Bello, who is hearing the charge filed against Metuh and his company, Dextra Investment Limited, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), made the order shortly after he dismissed the no-case submission entered by the defendants against the charges.
The anti-graft agency had in January 2015 arraigned Metuh and his company on a two-count charge bordering on alleged destruction of evidence.
Delivering ruling on Thursday in the no-case submission, Justice Bello held that a prima facie case was established against him by the prosecution.
Bello said that the “view of this court” after reviewing arguments by parties, “is that the application for a no-case submission is lacking in merit. It is hereby dismissed.”
He thereby ordered Metuh to enter his defence and adjourned the trial until November 20 for the defendant to open his defence.
Metuh’s counsel, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), had on October 10, 2017, told the court that they would enter a no-case submission at the close of the prosecution’s case.
Arguing in the no-case submission, Ikpeazu had told the court that the prosecution had not established any case to warrant the defendant to be called to enter his defence.
He said that the application was in pursuant to the provisions of Sections 302 and 357 of ACJA.
The counsel added that the defendant had a constitutional liberty and could not be prosecuted where he either refused to make a statement or withdraw any part of his writing in the course of making a statement.
Ikpeazu said that the defendant also had a right to cancel any part of his statement voluntarily.
He reminded the court that the charge by EFCC was that Metuh destroyed his statement and obstructed EFCC officials by willfully tearing his statement.
Ikpeazu argued that a piece of paper not signed did not qualify as a statement by the defendant, and urged the court to discharge and acquit the defendant.
However, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Sylvanus Tahir, urged the court to establish whether or not a prima facie case had been made against the defendant.
Tahir added that cancellation was different from tearing which was obstruction and prayed the court to call upon the defendant to enter his defence.