By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – Former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, who is facing corruption charges, on Wednesday, arrived for continuation of his trial before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, in a wheelchair.
Metuh was wheeled into the courtroom to continue his defence to the seven-count charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him and his firm, Destra Investment Limited.
EFCC alleged that he had before the 2015 Presidential election, received N400million from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, without executing any contract.
The agency alleged that the fund was electronically wired from an account that ONSA operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to Metuh, via account no. 0040437573, which his firm operated with Diamond Bank Plc.
It told the court that the fund which was released to Metuh and his firm by detained former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, retd, was part of about $2.1billion earmarked for the purchase of arms to fight insurgency in the North East.
Besides, the prosecution which had earlier closed its case after it called eight witnesses that testfied before the court, equally alleged that Metuh was involved in an illicit transaction that involved the exchange of $2million.
Meantime, at the resumed proceeding on Wednesday, Metuh through his lawyer, Mr. Emeka Etiaba, SAN, applied to be allowed to travel to the United Kingdom for medical treatment.
Metuh’s lawyer told the court that his client’s health had badly deteriorated in the past two months, a situation he said would require urgent medical attention from his doctors in London.
He tendered as an exhibit, a letter from one Dr. Adrian T. H. Kasey, a Neurosurgeon at Wellington Hospital in London, which he said emphasized the need for Metuh to be treated urgently.
However, trial Justice Abang requested both the prosecution and defence lawyers to address him on whether the court could grant Metuh’s request considering that he previously dismissed two similar applications on May 25, 2016 and on February, 2017.
Justice Abang who noted that Metuh had yet to appeal both rulings, noted that issues Metuh raised in his present application dated February 23, were the same thing he relied on in the two dismissed applications.
It will be recalled that Metuh was on February 9, brought to court in an ambulance, after Justice Abang threatened to revoke his bail and commit him to prison if he failed to appear for his trial.
The threat followed Metuh’s absence in court on two successive dates, though his lawyers tendered reports indicating that he was hospitalized at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu where he was referred to by Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital Nnewi.
More details soon.