Metuh’s Ill Health Stalls Trial as He Appears in Court on Stretcher
The embattled National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olisa Metuh, was on Monday, February 5, 2018 brought to court on a stretcher in compliance with the court’s order that he must appear today or risk being arrested.
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had on Thursday, January 25, 2018 threatened to revoke the bail granted Metuh, for failure to attend court three times consecutively (January 23- 25) without reasonable excuse.
Metuh’s counsel, Onyeachi Ikpeazu, SAN, had on January 23, 2018 told the court that Metuh was on admission at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State for an undisclosed ailment. He tendered a medical report dated January 22, to support the claim.
The prosecution who had closed its case over a year ago believed that Metuh’s continued absence in court was ploy to delay trial and frustrate the cause of justice.
Consequently, Sylvanus Tahir, counsel to the EFCC, through an oral application, urged the court to revoke the bail it granted Metuh and cause him to be reporting from the prison custody to attend his trial.
Justice Abang in granting Tahir’s prayer held that, “the medical report relied on by Metuh to stay away from court was fraudulently smuggled into the court’s file and aimed at forcing the court to stay proceedings in the trial indefinitely.
The judge wondered how a medical report purportedly issued in Nnewi, Anambra State, could find its way to the court’s file in Abuja within 24 hours!
The judge, however, adjourned but with a stern warning that the bail earlier granted to Metuh would be revoked if he failed to appear in court today to stand his trial.
At the resumed sitting, Metuh was brought to court on stretcher.
His counsel, Ikpeazu, pleaded with the court to give the defendant at least one month adjournment to enable him recover and continue with his trial.
Justice Abang, in granting the request for the adjournment said, “I am inclined to adjourn this matter to allow the first defendant recover and stand his trial. I have seen the condition that he is”.
The case was thereafter adjourned to March 14 -15, 2018 for continuation of defence.
Metuh is standing trial alongside his company, Destra Investment Limited, on a 7-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N400million, a sum he allegedly collected from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, ahead of the 2015 general election.
The offence breaches Section 15(2), (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act”.
Head, Media and Publicity
NIIMASA: Court Orders Final Forfeiture of Director’s £578, 080
Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos has ordered the final forfeiture of the sum of £578, 080 .00 (Five Hundred and Seventy-eight Thousand, Eighty Pounds) found by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in the account of a company, Zal Marine Limited, to the Federal Government.
Justice Saidu gave the order today, February 5, 2018, following an application filed by the EFCC.
The applicant, through its lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, had told the court that it received intelligence report about “a monumental fraud in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA”, a development that necessitated the investigation.
Oyedepo had further told the court that one Irene U. Macfoy, an Assistant Director, NIMASA, had used her position as Head, Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme, NSDP, in NIMASA to facilitate the fraudulent transfer of the sum of E1, 074, 600.00 from the account of NIMASA domiciled with Zenith Bank Plc, United Kingdom to an offshore account belonging to Swiss Bulk Carriers S.A. under the false pretences of training 54 Nautical Science and Marine Engineering students sometime in March 2013.
It was further revealed that Zal Marine Limited, a front company to Macfoy and an agent of Swiss Bulk Carriers S.A., fraudulently received and retained the money, which was paid into a Diamond Bank Plc account number- 0065555537- on July 31, 2013.
The respondents were said to have also converted to their personal use the sum of E496, 520.00 without any contractual relationship with NIMASA or approval of a tender Board of a parastatal or Ministry.
Consequently, the applicant had filed a motion ex-parte seeking the temporary forfeiture of the money on the grounds that it was reasonably suspected to be proceeds of an unlawful activity.
In his ruling on the application for a temporary forfeiture of the money, Justice Saidu had granted the applicant’s prayers and ordered the respondents or any other person interested in the money to appear before the court to show cause why it should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government.
The court had also directed the applicant to publish the order in a national newspaper for the respondents or anyone else to appear before the court to show cause why it should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government before the next adjourned date.
Delivering his ruling today, Justice Saidu held that the applicant had proved beyond any doubt that the money was proceeds of an unlawful activity and ordered that it be forfeited to the Federal Government.
Head, Media and Publicity