The former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, has appealed to the Federal High Court in Abuja seeking for the release of his international passport to enable him travel abroad for medical attention.
In his application moved by his counsel, Emeka Etiaba, prayed the trial judge, Okon Abang, to grant him leave to travel abroad on health reasons.
Mr. Metuh, who is facing a seven-count charge before the court, had earlier been granted a N400 million bail to by the court.
Other bail conditions, according to Justice Abang was for Mr. Metuh to provide two sureties with N200 million each. The sureties, the court held, must have properties in Maitama district of Abuja.
The court also ordered the former PDP spokesman to also submit his international passport to the Registrar of the court as part of the conditions for his bail.
Arguing the application for the release of Mr. Metuh’s travel document yesterday, 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 Raymond Onwuelo by Andrean T. H. Kessy, a Neurological and Spinal Surgery Consultant in London, stating detailed health status of Metuh.
According to Mr. Etiaba, the surgery on Mr. 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 Mr. Metuh, Tochukwu Onwugbufor, said the application deals with the exercise of the court’s discretion.
He said the granting of the application by the court will speed up the trial as Mr. 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 has 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.
Mr. 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 on Thursday for further hearing of the case of the first defendant.
The former PDP spokesman, who is facing trial alongside his firm, Destra Investment Limited, was alleged to have received N400 million from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), prior to the 2015 presidential election.
EFCC told the court that the N400 million, released to the defendants by the erstwhile NSA, Sambo Dasuki, (rtd), was part of the $2.1 billion earmarked for the purchase of arms to prosecute the war against insurgency in the North Eastern part of the country.
The anti-graft agency said the fund was electronically wired from an account the ONSA operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to Metuh, via account No. 0040437573, which his firm operated with Diamond Bank Plc.