A former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, is on admission at the National Hospital Abuja, his lawyer, Mr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), told a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday.
Ikpeazu said Metuh was rushed to the hospital after he collapsed while rising to sing in his church in Abuja on Sunday.
The lawyer told the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang this, while giving reasons for the absence of Metuh from court, where the ex-spokesperson for the PDP, is being prosecuted along with his company, Destra Investment Limited, for offences relating to separate transactions of N400m and $2m.
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.
The fund was said to have been released to Metuh and his firm by the immediate past National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), from about $2.1bn allegedly earmarked by the then President Goodluk Jonathan Administration for the purchase of arms to fight insurgency in the North East.
Other counts involve alleged money laundering involving cash transaction with $2m, which was said to be above limit of cash payments allowed by law.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, when Metuh was scheduled to call his seventh defence witness, his lawyer, Ikpeazu, sought an adjournment of the trial till Wednesday to enable his client to obtain a medical report on his health condition.
Ikpeazu said, “The first defendant is absent because he is sick. He was rushed to the National Hospital in Abuja on Sundayafter he collapsed while trying to stand up from his seat to sing in his church.”
The lawyer said the ex-spokesperson for the PDP was later on Sunday taken from the National Hospital to an Indian hospital in Karu, Abuja, and later back to the National Hospital, where he was until the Tuesday’s proceedings still admitted in the hospital’s Ward A4.
He however said, due to ongoing tests being carried out on his client, the hospital had not been able to issue a medical report which he could present in court.
In response, prosecuting counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, said in the absence of a medical report disclosing Metuh’s health status, the court should disregard the submission of the defence lawyer and go ahead with the proceedings in the absence of the accused person.