By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello, yesterday, granted bail to the embattled National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, to the tune of N300million with two sureties in like sum.
The Judge stressed that the two sureties must have verifiable addresses.
Metuh was on Thursday, docked before the high court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a two-count criminal charge bordering on his alleged destruction of evidence against him.
EFCC, alleged that Metuh who is also facing another seven-count criminal charge before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja, tore and attempted to chew a confessional statement he made under caution while undergoing interrogation.
The anti-graft agency insisted that the said statement would have been vital to its prosecution of the criminal case pending against the defendant before the Federal High Court.
It said that Metuh, by his action, committed an offence contrary to sections 166 and 326 of the Penal Code Act.
Meantime, the PDP spokesman who pleaded not guilty to the charge, yesterday, prayed the court to release him on bail pending the determination of the case against him.
Moving the bail application which was predicated on sections 35 and 36 of the 1999, constitution, as amended, and sections 160 and 165 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, Metuh’s lawyer, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, urged the court to exercise its discretion in favour of the defendant.
Ikpeazu pleaded the court to consider the fact that his client is also a lawyer and grant him bail on self recognition.
He said that his client, as a responsible citizen, would not jump bail or interfere in anyway with EFCC investigations or with its witnesses
Though EFCC did not oppose Metuh’s bail request, it however urged the court to impose conditions that would compel the defendant to appear for trial if released from detention.
Ruling on the application, Justice Bello noted that the defendant was charged with a bailable offence.
’I am satisfied that the oral application of the defendant succeeds, accordingly, he is granted bail in the sum of N300million with two sureties in the like sum, whose places of abode must be verified for easy access’, the Judge held.
Justice Bello had on the day Metuh was arraigned before him, queried why the EFCC failed to incorporate the current charge to the one already pending before the FHC.
Meanwhile, for the third time, prison officials brought Metuh to court in handcuffs yesterday.
The EFCC informed the court that it has lined up three witnesses to testify against Metuh, adding that the charge against the defendant attracts two years jail term upon his conviction.
Part of the charge that was preferred against Metuh yesterday read, “That you, Olisa Metuh in January 2016 while in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, attempted to destroy evidence to prevent its production in court during trial contrary to Section 1 of the Panel Code.
“That you Olisa Metuh, with intent to cause damage to the property of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, tore into pieces statement you made under caution contrary to section 326 of the panel code and punishable under Section 327 of the same code”.
It will be recalled that Justice Abang had on Tuesday, also granted Metuh bail to the tune of N400million.
The court however ordered that he should be remanded at Kuje Prison pending when he is able to perfect all the bail conditions.