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Published On: Thu, Mar 15th, 2018

Ill health: Court declines Metuh’s absence during proceedings

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Court grants Metuh N400m bailBy Vivian Okejeme Abuja

The embattled former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party,(PDP) Chief OlisaMetuh, yesterday, lost an application seeking leave to be absent in court from the proceedings due to ill health challenges.
However, the court ruled that the first defendant(Metuh) is at liberty to leave the court room at will during proceedings.
Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC)alleged that Metuh, who was said to be critically ill, received N400million from the Office of the National Security Adviser, before the 2015 general election.
At the resumption of trial, Counsel to Metuh, EmekaEtieba SAN, relying on section 266((b) of ACJA 2015, made an application seeking the court to grant his client leave to be absent from the proceeding due to his health challenges.
The trial judge, Justice OkonAbang refusing the application held that the defendant is however, at liberty to leave the court room at will, adding that it won’t be any issue for the court.
At the last adjourned date, the defendant made another application, asking the court to released his passport to enable him travel to United Kingdom for medical attention.
When the matter was called up for hearing, the trial judge posed two issues to the defense to react in relation to its jurisdiction to hear the instance application.
According to the judge, the issues is that the court had two times dismissed applications seeking for the releasing of the said passport dated 26 May, 2016 and 23rd Feb 2017 and the decisions of the court have not been appeal on, so the decision is subsisting.
The second issue is, having regards to the conduct of the defendant, the court on the 25 February, 2018, ruled that it will not accept any medical report from any hospital in Nigeria in relation to Metuh, until the end of the trial.
Responding to the issues raised by the judge, Etiaba answered in positive that the court has the jurisdiction to entertain the application.
He premised his submission on the ground that the facts and ingredients the defendant relied upon in the instance application is different from the ones relied on the previous applications.
On the issue that the court will not accept medical report from any hospital in Nigeria in respect of the first defendant and the fact it has not been appealed, Etieba said;”We confirmed we have not appealed the decision.”
“ We are relying on the exhibit 3 which is a report from a Consultant Neorogical Surgeon, Mr. Andrea T. H from Wellington Hospital UK dated 14 February 2018 and addressed to Dr. Raymond Onwuelo.
“We are submitting that we have presented a new case before the court for determination” Etiaba concluded.
Counsel to the second defendant(Destra Investment), ToochukwuOnwugbufor SAN, aligned himself with the submissions of Etieba.
Opposing the application, the prosecution Counsel, SlyvanusTahir, said the exhibit 3 relied on by the defendant is “not convincing and not qualified as a medical report that will enable the court examine critically the defendant’s ill health.”
In a short ruling, Justice Abang adjourned the matter till today, 15 March, 2018, at the instance of the first defendant for further hearing.

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