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Court Refuses Metuh’s Application to Put Trial on Hold


A Federal High Court in Abuja, Monday, refused the prayers of former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, to put on hold his trial until the determination of his pending application at the Supreme Court.
Justice Okon Abang, the trial Judge also dismissed another of his application seeking the release of his international passport which will enable Metuh travel abroad for medical attention.
Metuh is facing trial on a seven-count charge of fraud brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) .
He is accused of receiving N400m illegally from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
In a ruling on Monday, Justice Abang dismissed an application by Metuh seeking an order of stay of proceedings in the trial.
Abang said the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA does not encourage such an adjournment.
The ruling followed the June 9, 2017, decision of the Supreme Court dismissing a similar application by Metuh.
The apex court, had in the said ruling, validated section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 which prohibits courts from entertaining such application for stay of proceedings.
Although Metuh had in his application dated March 17, 2017, only specifically asked the court to await and adjourn until after June 9, 2017, the date the Supreme Court had scheduled for its ruling, Justice Abang in his ruling on Monday said the application amounted to asking for a stay of proceedings.
“In my view, the application for an adjournment of further trial to abide the occurrence of an event in future is seeking to stay proceedings,” Justice Abang ruled.
Dismissing the application in line with the June 9, 2017,decision of the Supreme Court, Justice Abang ruled, “By virtue of section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 this court has no power to stay proceedings in a criminal trial.”
In the second ruling, Justice Abang also dismissed an application filed by counsel for Destra Investment Limited’s lawyer, Tochukwu Onwugbufor (SAN), asking the court to release Metuh’s passport to enable him (Metuh) to travel to the United Kingdom for medical treatment for a period of five weeks.
Justice Abang, in dismissing the application said he lacked jurisdiction to reopen the issue having heard parties and a considered ruling delivered on it on May 25, 2016.
Justice Abang, afterwards fixed Tuesday for continuation of the trial after six months on hold.

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