The trial of the former Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, was delayed on Tuesday, as Mr. Metuh failed to show up to court due to his ill health.
Mr. Metuh and his company, Destra Investment Limited, are facing a seven-count charge of fraud amounting to N400m. The case was brought to the Federal High Court of Abuja by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Justice Okon Abang is presiding over the case.
According to Mr. Metuh’s attorney, Onyechi Ikpeazu, the former publicity secretary was hospitalized this past Sunday.
“My Lord, due to health complications, the first defendant [Metuh] was rushed to the National Hospital on Sunday, January 8, 2017. I pleaded with the consultants to give us a medical report to show the court, but this was not possible due to the fact that the report is to be a summation of the reports of five different consultants,” Mr. Ikpeazu said.
The counsel to co-defendant Destra Investment Limited, Tochukwu Onwugbufor, supported Mr. Ikpeazu’s application. EFCC counsel Sylvanus Tahir, however, opposed the application, arguing that the defendant should have presented the court with an official certificate proving he is ill and unable to be present at court.
“The explanation given cannot be taken as a substitute for the certificate, which is the preserve of a medical doctor,” Mr. Tahir explained. “The explanation, therefore, does not constitute a reasonable explanation as envisaged by Section 352 (4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.”
He therefore argued that the trial should continue despite Mr. Metuh’s absence.
Justice Abang ultimately adjourned the case till Wednesday, January 11 and ordered the defendants to present the necessary medical reports verifying Mr. Metuh's illness.