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Published On: Tue, Oct 23rd, 2018

N400m fraud charge: EFCC alleges move to stall Metuh’s trial

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By Vivian Okejeme Abuja

The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) yesterday, asked the Federal High Court Abuja, to reject an application praying the postponement of further hearing on the trial of Chief Olise Metuh, till November 29.
The prosecution agency made this request in an affidavit of fact that was filed before the trial court by counsel to the 2nd defendant in the case, Chief Tochukwu Onwugbufor, SAN, who is representing Metuh’s firm, Destra Investment Ltd.
The Federal Government is prosecuting the former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on seven-count of Criminal charges.
Metuh, alongside his firm, Destra Investment Ltd, is in court following allegation that he received N400million from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, prior to the 2015 presidential election, without executing any contract.
At the resumption of trial yesterday, the trial Judge, Justice Okon Abang informed the parties that the court received an affidavit dated October 18.
According to the affidavit, the defendant is asking for the matter to be shifted till November to enable the counsel representing Metuh’s firm, Onwugbufor, SAN, to return from London where he is currently receiving medical attention.
Reacting to the development, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, argued that nothing before the court proved that Onwugbufor was indeed outside the country as he claimed.
“There is nothing before this court to show that the learned senior counsel had an emergency resulting to his evacuation to the UK in an air ambulance.
“Here the court is made to believe that in the absence of Onwugbufor, the case cannot make progress. That is very unfortunate.
“There is no evidence to show that he is indeed out of the country or attending medical treatment in London. There is no medical report or boarding pass attached as exhibit.
“We submit that this application was not made in good faith, but borne out of desire to cause maximum delay in this case”, Tahir added.
In his response, counsel to Metuh, Mr. Emeka Etiaba, SAN, told the court that Onwugbufor was in possession of vital documents his client wanted to use for continuation of his defense.
Justice Abang, in his ruling declined the adjournment plea by the second defendant.
Consequently, he ordered Metuh to continue the defence of the charge against him today(Tuesday)
In a separate ruling, Justice Abang granted an order for the stay of execution of an order it made on July 3, directing the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, to arraign three Channels TV Presenters.
The three TV staff were accused anchoring a program where prejudicial comments were made in respect to Metuh’s trial.
Justice Abang had maintained that the conduct of the three Presenters- Chamberlain Usoh, Gimba Umar and Anneota Egbe- in asking questions on a case pending before his court, was contemptuous.

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