Metu’s EFCC Case Suffers Setback

Metu’s EFCC Case Suffers Setback

Metu’s EFCC Case Suffers Setback

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Metuh’s Request to Travel Abroad for Treatment Suffers Setback, as Court Adjourns Ruling to April 19

The application by the embattled former spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olisa Metuh, to travel to UK for medical treatment suffered a setback on March 16, 2018 as Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja adjourned ruling on the application to April 19, 2018.

Metuh is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,  for allegedly receiving N400million from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, in 2014 to campaign for former President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of the 2015 general elections.

Metuh’s counsel, Emeka Etiaba,SAN had on March 14, 2018 through an application dated and filed on February 23, 2018 sought leave of the court for the release of Metuh’s international passport to enable him travel abroad on health grounds.

Etiaba’s application was opposed by Sylvanus Tahir, counsel to the EFCC, on the ground that similar applications had been made before and the court rejected it.

Justice Abang, after taking arguments from counsel on Thursday, March 15, 2018 asked parties to submit all authorities cited to the court before the close of work on Thursday or before noon today (Friday, March 16, 2018).

The judge added that upon the receipt of the authorities, the court would determine the date for ruling on the application.

At the resumed sitting today, Justice Abang, while expressing the desire to rule on the application expeditiously said he had “a challenge of not resident within the court’s jurisdiction”

“The court has received the authorities of the citations made by both parties, and it’s of the firm view that ruling in an interlocutory application accompanied with affidavit of urgency, subject to availability of judicial time ought to be delivered timeously. But, I have a challenge. The challenge is that the court is not resident within the court’s jurisdiction”, the judge said.

In the circumstance, the case was adjourned.

The judge also refused an oral application by Etiaba  for an adjournment to enable Metuh access “palliative medical procedure”, pending when the court would rule on his application.

Etiaba, while persuading the court to grant his prayer said that, Metuh had been sitting down in a wheel chair since two days ago to attend court, and need medication to enable him have the presence of mind to continue with this trial.

Though, the learned silk acknowledged the provision of Section 266 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, which provides that a defendant has to be in court except for two reasons, he, however, argued that:

“I believe that the inherent of this position is that the defendant will not only be in court but should also be capable of following through the proceedings”.

Tochuckwu Onwugbufor, SAN, counsel to the second defendant (Destra Investment Limited), also aligned himself with Etiaba’s submission.

Responding, Tahir opposed the application citing Section 278 (1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA which states that:

“Where in the course of criminal  trial, the court has reason to suspect the mental capacity or soundness of mind of a defendant, by virtue of which he is unable to stand trial or defend himself, the court shall order the medical examination of the defendant’s mental state or of soundness of mind”.

He added that “the court can take the appropriate step as provided by the law, but must be satisfied first that the first defendant has no soundness of mind or has reason to suspect the soundness of mind of the defendant to continue his trial”.

Tahir urged the court to use the power vested on it by virtue of Section 278 (1) of ACJA, to order the medical examination of the defendant or his soundness of mind.

After listening to the argument of counsels, Justice Abang refused the application saying, “the first defendant has placed nothing before the court to show that the first defendant has no mental capacity of soundness of mind to stand trial in this matter, to necessitate the court applying provision 278 (1) of ACJA.

Earlier in the proceeding, Emeka Godwin Onyia, a self employed public administrator, testified as the 10th defence witness. He told the court how he was paid N42million in cash by Metuh, in order to change the mindset of the Southeast people of Nigeria.

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