N400m Fraud: PDP ex-spokesman, Olisa Metuh now bed-ridden, can’t come to court now, lawyer tells court
A Federal high court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday heard that a former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, was and is still bedridden at the National Hospital Abuja, after he collapsed during a church service on Sunday.
His lawyer, Mr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), who made the disclosure before a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday said he could not attend court because of his condition.
Ikpeazu said there was the need to formally inform the court so that his absence would not be mistaken for contempt or reluctance to face his trial.
Giving details of how Metuh found himself in his present situation, the lawyer narrated to the court that it all happened last Sunday while rising to sing in his church in Abuja, he suddenly slumped and created scene.
He said after initial first aid that the church could give him, Metuh was rushed to the hospital where he is currently bedridden.
The former PDP spokesman is being prosecuted along with his company, Destra Investment Limited, for offences relating to separate transactions of N400m and $2m.
He had also slumped in the dock in the course of the trial.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting Metuh and Destra Investment Limited on seven counts, including fraud involving N400m which he allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser in 2014 without any justification.
In response, prosecuting counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, said the court should disregard the submission of the defence lawyer and go ahead with the proceedings because of the absence of a medical report.
But it is trite that in a criminal case, trial cannot proceed in the absence of the accused person.
Meanwhile, the trial high court judge, Justice Abang may not continue with the trial of the case because of the shake-up in the court.
Justice Abang’s last day at the Abuja Federal high court for now is January 30th when he would leave Abuja for Asaba on redeployment.