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N400m Fraud: Metuh Seeks Leave Of Court To Call Additional Witnesses

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Mr Olisah Metuh, former National Publicity Secretary, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Wednesday, filed an application at the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking  permission to call additional witnesses in his ongoing trial.

Counsel to Metuh, Mr Onyeachi Ikpeazu (SAN), who filed the application explained that the charges against his client involved N400 million and $2 million.

He said that the first set of witnesses called testified with respect to the N400 million charge and the additional witnesses will testify on the $2 million charge.

Ikpeazu added that, although the former President Goodluck Jonathan was still a witness in the matter, the defence would not allow his absence to stall proceedings.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that Metuh has called at least nine witnesses since he opened his defence.

NAN also recalls that at the resumption of proceedings in the matter on Monday, the defence had told the court that Metuh was absent in court due to ill health.

The defence had presented a medical report to back its claim and asked for an adjournment, but both the court and the prosecution questioned the authenticity of the report.

The prosecution asked the court to revoke Metuh’s bail, and commit him to prison for the remaining duration of the trial.

The court subsequently adjourned proceedings to allow counsel continue arguments on all the issues raised

Continuing his arguments, Mr Tochukwu Onwubufor (SAN), who is representing Metuh’s company in the matter, told the court that the medical report the defence was relying on was a valid document in court.

“The medical report from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, shows that it was properly filed in this court, with the registry stamp, initials and the fees paid.

“According to a Supreme Court decision, this satisfies the conditions for a judge to act on the letter. The evidence of the registrar of any non-compliance in filing it is purely administrative

“The first defendant cannot be punished for the mistake of the registry, which ought to have rejected the letter if it was not filed appropriately.”

On the issue of revocation of bail, Onwubufor submitted that it was only when any of the bail conditions set by the court were breached with evidence to show the breach that the court could revoke bail.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr Sylvanus Tahir, responding, maintained that the medical report was not a proper document before the court and should be discountenanced.

On the argument that the mistake of the registry should not be visited on the defendant, the prosecutor submitted that it was rather the defendant who did not follow the proper procedure.

Tahir, on the issue of the revocation of bail said that the paramount condition of bail was so that the defendant could attend proceedings in his matter.

According to him, any other condition is auxiliary, and in this case, the defendant has failed to attend court for his trial, so bail can be revoked.

He added that the application to revoke bail was based purely on the provisions of the law and not meant as a witch hunt to the defendant as insinuated by the defence.

The judge, Justice Okon Abang, adjourned the matter until Jan. 25, to rule on the application to revoke bail and the application for additional witness.

The judge said the court would also rule on the application to vacate the earlier dates fixed for the matter and  fix new dates convenient to the court.

 



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