The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday permitted former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, to commence his evidence-in-chief from outside the witness box.
It will be recalled that Metuh, while attempting to enter the dock on May 21 with the help of a walking aid, fell down following which he was absent from court on May 22, 23 and 24, which were the next adjourned dates.
The court then decided to try Metuh in absentia, and on May 25, closed his case and asked the second defendant to open his case on the next adjourned date.
The court, however, on July 3, vacated the order made on May 25, closing Metuh’s case and reopened the case to allow him testify personally and to also call two additional witnesses.
After the two witnesses had testified, Metuh prayed the court to allow him call a third witness, who, according to him, would lay the foundation on which he would commence his evidence.
The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, granted him leave to call the additional witness, saying that no sacrifice was too much for the court to make to ensure justice delivery.
When Metuh’s counsel, Mr. Onyeachi Ikpeazu, called him to enter the witness box to commence his evidence-in-chief, Abang asked Metuh to remain on his seat.
From his seat, following his affirmation to tell only the truth in the matter, Metuh told the court that he was a lawyer, a business executive, a politician and a real estate developer.
Ikpeazu, who had earlier told the court that he would only introduce the evidence of Metuh, prayed the court to allow him stop and continue on the next adjourned date.
He also craved the indulgence of the court to allow his client travel to attend his daughter’s graduation abroad.
The judge said he could not act on the request since there was no formal application before the court.
The case was adjourned until October 22 to October 24 for Metuh to continue with his evidence-in-chief.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Metuh is standing trial along with his company, Destra Investments Limited, on seven counts, including alleged laundering of $2m.
Metuh and Destra Investments Limited are also being prosecuted by the Federal Government for allegedly receiving N400m from the office of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
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