Alex Enumah in Abuja
The former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, Wednesday pleaded with the Federal High Court in Abuja to release his international passport to enable him travel abroad for medical attention.
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Metuh in his application moved by his counsel, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), prayed the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, to grant him leave to travel abroad on health reasons.
Metuh alongside his company, Destra Investment ltd, are standing trial on a seven-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N400m.
However, part of the bail conditions granted the former PDP spokesman include submission of his international passport to the Registrar of the court.
Arguing the application for the release of Metuh’s travel document wednesday, his counsel, told the court that the instant application was different from the two previous ones, which the court had heard and ruled on.
He drew the attention of the court to Exhibit three attached to the application, which is a letter dated February 14, 2018 addressed to Dr. Raymond Onwuelo by Mr. Andrean T. H. Kessy, a Neurological and Spinal Surgery Consultant in London, stating detailed health status of Metuh.
According to Etiaba, the surgery on Metuh will take about ten days and requires five weeks to heal, and added that, “Even when a defendant, in a trial as this, is due for a routine medical check up, that ordinarily will grant an application such as this, but we have gone beyond that to show why the court should grant the application.
“We have asked the prosecution to make available health personnel to evaluate the heath status of the first defendant in this matter to show our sincerity in our application for him to travel abroad on medical grounds,” he told the court.
In his submission, counsel to the second defendant, Destra Investments Limited, allegedly owned by Metuh, Tochukwu Onwugbufor (SAN), said the application deals with the exercise of the court’s discretion.
He said the granting of the application by the court would speed up the trial as Metuh will have no reason to be absent from court for his trial.
The prosecution counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, while opposing the application submitted that the defence have failed to place sufficient materials before the court to warrant it exercise it’s discretion on the application.
He said all the exhibits the defence attached to support the affidavit are un-convincing and that none qualify as a medical report to warrant a critical look by the court to see the defendant’s complaints of ill-health.
Tahir therefore urged the court to dismiss the application for lacking in merit and consider it as an abuse of court’s process.
The matter continues today for further hearing of the case of the first defendant.