•••As National Hospital transfers defendant to LUTH for treatment
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
THE Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, adjourned trial of the embattled National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, till July 7.
Trial Justice Okon Abang adjourned the case owing to the absence of the defendant who was said to have been transferred to the University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, for treatment.
Metuh is answering to a seven-count charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him and his company, Destra Investment Limited.
The defendants were alleged to have prior to the 2015 general elections, recieved N400million from Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, without executing any verifiable contract. The PDP spokesman was originally scheduled to continue his defence to the charge on Friday.
However, at the resumed sitting, Metuh’s counsel, Mr. Emeka Etiaba, SAN, informed the court that his client’s health condition deteriorated, leading to his transfer from the National Hospital in Abuja to Lagos.
Etiaba, SAN, further tendered a medical report that was signed by one Dr. Olufemi Bankole from LUTH, which indicated that the defendant was on bed rest at the hospital over illness that causes him to feel “severe back pains”. Consequently, the defence lawyer prayed the court to adjourn the trial to enable his client to effectively take care of his health challenge.
Meanwhile, though the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, did not oppose the request, however, Justice Abang, berated the management of the National Hospital in Abuja over the decision to transfer the defendant out of jurisdiction without the consent of the court.
Justice Abang noted that the case was previously adjourned on the basis of a medical report from the Abuja hospital.
Observing that the fresh medical report did not indicate how long the defendant is expected to be on bed rest, the trial Judge said he could order an investigation into the activities of the National Hospital in Abuja in relation to Metuh’s health claim.