A former national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party , Olisa Metuh , was absent from the Federal High Court in Abuja for his trial on money laundering charges involving the N 400 m he allegedly received fraudulently from the Office of the National Security Adviser in 2014.
Meuth ’ s lawyer , Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu ( SAN ) , informed the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang , on Monday that the ex – spokesperson for the PDP was absent from court because he was on an admission at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital in Nnewi , Anambra State.
He told the judge that the hospital on behalf of the defendant sent to the court a letter dated January 21 , 2017 stating that it had admitted Metuh since January 20. The defence lawyer sought an adjournment to enable him to report the status of the issues of his client ’s health to the court . But in response , the lawyer prosecuting Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited , on behalf of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir , said the development would frustrate further the trial.
He however said he would not oppose the request for adjournment since it was based on health. Tahir expressed regrets that by virtue of the provisions of section 266 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, the matter could not proceed without Metuh being in court .
He also recalled that the Supreme Court had on January 12, 2018, while delivering judgment in an interlocutory appeal filed on behalf of Metuh ’ s firm , ordered the Federal High Court to give the trial an accelerated hearing .
But Ikpeazu said Justice Abang had always given the case an accelerated hearing . He noted that Metuh ’s ill health could not have been orchestrated by the defence to frustrate the trial. Justice Abang said he would adjourn till Tuesday since the prosecution did not oppose the request for adjournment “to enable the court to be briefed ” on Metuh ’ s health status.