The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 asked Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja to revoke the bail granted to the embattled National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olisa Metuh, due to his continued absence in court.
Metuh is currently standing trial alongside his company, Destra Investment Limited, on a 7-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N400million, a sum he allegedly collected from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, ahead of the 2015 general election.
The offence breaches Section 15(2), (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act”.
The prosecution had closed its case on February 18, 2016 after calling eight witnesses and tendered documents to establish Metuh’s complicity in the alleged offence.
Metuh, among other things has been employing all legal means possible to frustrate his trial including filing a no-case submission and right abuse charge against the EFCC, all which were resolved against him.
Having lost a no-case submission, Metuh sought to subpoena former president Jonathan as witness, which the judge on October 3, 2017 acceded to, but the former PDP spokesperson could not duly serve the subpoena order on the former president.
Consequently, Sylvanus Tahir, counsel to the EFCC, on Monday (December 4) urged the court to set aside the witness summons issued on Jonathan and order Metuh, who had earlier called eight defence witnesses, to call his other proposed witnesses, if any.
Justice Abang, while ruling on the application threatened to set aside the subpoena inviting former President Goodluck Jonathan to testify on behalf of Metuh, if it continued to constitute delay in the trial of the ex-spokesperson for the PDP.
The trial, which was adjourned from December 6 to January 22, 2018, could still not proceed as the defence, Onyeachi Ikpeazu, SAN, told the court that Metuh was indisposed and could not make it to court.
The case which has suffered several adjournments on the behest of Metuh was at the last sitting, January 22, further adjourned to today following an by Ikpeazu to the effect that the defendant was indisposed.
According to him, Metuh was currently recuperating at the Nnamdi Azikwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, following a relapse in his health situation.
At the resumed sitting today, Ikpeazu, further said that efforts made so far to reach the Chief Consultant Nnamdi Azikwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi had not yielded result.
His words: “My Lord, I made effort to speak with the consultant yesterday, but they stood by the correspondence that the defendant is indisposed. They are open to investigation regarding the situation”.
He further prayed the court to vacate the rest of the days in the week and adjourn to any other day convenient for the court.
Tochukwu Onwubufor, SAN, representing the second defendant aligned himself with the submission of Ikpeazu.
Tahir, in response, opposed to further adjournment adding that it was a ploy to delay the trial.
“In this case are traps and land mines, deliberately setup by the defence to entrap this proceeding. At this point my Lord, the prosecution is more convinced that the current scenario is being played out of bad fate and plot to stay proceedings”.
Relying on Section 137 (b) ACJA and Section 169, Tahir urged the court to revoke the bail granted to Metuh, and cause him to be reporting from custody for his trial.
Justice Abang, after taking arguments from counsels, further adjourned to January 24, 2018 for further argument on the revocation of bail.