Justice Okon Abang of Federal High Court in Abuja, has adjourned till January 24 (Wednesday), to entertain arguments on the bail revocation of the former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh as moved by the Federal Government
Federal Government on Tuesday asked Justice Abang to vacate the bail granted Metuh, who is facing a seven count charge before the court, on the grounds that he violated the terms of condition of the bail.
The Federal Government, through his counsel, Sylvanus Tahir also urged the court to commit Metuh to prison custody until the conclusion of the criminal charge preferred against him .
Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited are being prosecuted for allegedly receiving the N400m from the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col Sambo Mohammed Dasuki (rtd) and used same for political activities of the PDP in the 2015 general elections.
At the resumed trial Tuesday, the former PDP spokesman, who was absent in court on Monday, was also not in court Tuesday and his lead counsel, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), in an oral application prayed the court to vacate the days left in the week, that were earlier slated for the trial and to adjourn the matter to a date that will be convenient to the court.
Justice Abang, after listening to submissions of parties, adjourned the matter till January 24 to hear arguments on the oral application of Metuh’s counsel and that of the prosecution counsel, seeking the revocation of Metuh’s bail.
Ikpeazu, while supporting his oral application, drew the court’s attention to the letter written to the court by Dr. Ekwuogwu O. C, of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, explaining Metuh’s health condition and that he is on admission at the hospital.
He said, Dr. Ekwuogwu’s letter, which is official document and dated January 21, 2018 is already in the record of the court and urged the court to grant his application.
In his response to the oral application by Ikpeazu, counsel to the Federal Government, who argued that the letter from the hospital has no reference to the pending suit before the court, also urged the court to ignore it.
Tahir asked the trial Judge to revoke the bail it earlier granted Metuh, adding that, “In view of the fact that the first defendant has been absent from court on Monday and Tuesday for inexplicable reason, he has taken steps which undermines or jeopardises the objectives and purpose of the bail granted him by the court”.
Tahir said the application for the revocation of Metuh’s bail is pursuant to Sections 173 (b) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) and Section 169 of the same Act.
“We vehemently opposed to the application for adjournment and therefore urged the court to revoke the bail of the first defendant and commit him to prison until the conclusion of his trial, for his inexplicable absence from court for his trial. He will be attending his trial from the prison if our application is granted”, he said.
But Ikpeazu said the court has taken judicial notice that the letter came from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital and signed by Dr. Ekwuogwu O. C, adding that, by virtue of Section 102 of the Evidence Act, the said letter is a public document that emanated from a government body.
Ikpeazu, in his submission, told the court that the prosecution’s application for the revocation of the bail of the first defendant should have come by way of motion on notice.
He said the prosecution has not filed a motion for the revocation of the bail and that nothing is placed before the court on why the bail granted Metuh should be revoked.
According to Ikpeazu, the essential facts that should have support the prosecution’s application must deal with facts pointing at the defendant as flight risk, interfering with witnesses of the prosecution or interfering with the administration of justice.
The defence counsel urged the court to discontenance the oral application of the prosecution for been premature and unsubstantiated