The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court will on Wednesday rule on an application seeking the revocation of the bail it granted former Peoples Democratic Party’s spokesperson, Olisa Metuh.
Mr. Metuh is facing trial for alleged diversion of N400 million from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
He was accused of committing the offence alongside his company, Destra Investment Limited, in 2015.
At the continuation of the trial on Tuesday, the defence counsel informed the court that Mr. Metuh was absent due to illness and presented a medical report from Nnamdi Azikwe University Teaching Hospital in Nnewi, Anambra State.
In his reaction to the medical report, the judge, Okon Abang, said there was no evidence before the court to prove that the person who signed the report was a genuine doctor of that hospital.
The remark of the judge led to a long argument between the defence and the court.
Counsel to the second defendant, Tochukwu Onwubufor, argued that section 266 of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act does not allow for the continuation of trial in the absence of a defendant, except under certain circumstances.
He added that those circumstances were not included in the reasons given for Mr. Metuh’s absence in court.
“The court cannot continue a trial when the defendant is absent from court unless in circumstances described in section 266 (a) and (b) thereof, which is not applicable in this case,” he said.
Counsel to Mr. Metuh, Onyeachi Ikpeazu, aligned with the argument of Mr. Onwubufor.
Mr. Ikpeazu noted that the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital is a known hospital in Nigeria, adding that the doctor who signed the report is an official of the hospital.
In a swift reaction, however, Mr. Abang said; “This is not a post office. Anybody can sit in his house and write this.”
Prosecution counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, asked the court to treat the first defendant as having attempted to jump bail.
He asked the court to revoke Mr. Metuh’s bail and have him remanded in prison, so that he (Metuh) would continue coming for his trial from prison.
Subsequently Mr. Abang said he will consider the applications by both parties in Wednesday’s hearing’.