APC in ‘tears’ as Metuh rubbishes EFCC

By Amako Nneji February 19, 2016 13:10

APC in ‘tears’ as Metuh rubbishes EFCC

Cold might have run down the spine of the leadership of All Progressives Congress, APC, who had vowed to collect its pound of flesh when the news broke out that the National Publicity Secretary of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olisah Metuh had obtained the leave of court to make a no-case submission in his trial before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

By a no-case submission, Metuh will not be required, at this stage to lead evidence.

Related:  EFCC bows to pressure, issues harmless charges against Metuh

He will argue that by the evidence led by the prosecution, no case has been made out against him and request the court to free him, to which the prosecution is required to file a response.

Some aggrieved APC members had behind the scene vowed to collect their pounds of flesh by paying the PDP spokesman in his own coins.

Metuh, looking rather relaxed stormed the court room at exactly 10: 50 am on Thursday, February 18, with retinue of colleagues and family members.

After exchanging pleasantries, he quickly settled down on a seat reserved for him as he was handed a copy of Thisday newspaper, turning at the back page he was confronted with a column written by the Late Musa Yar’Adua’s Special Assistant on Media, Olusegun Adeniyi, with the caption, “The assault on Supreme Court.”

Hardly, had he finished reading the second paragraph of the heavily worded article, then the shout of “Courrrrt” stirred him up as he, Metuh made his way to the dock.

The EFCC had closed its case last week after calling witnesses to prove its case, following which the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang adjourned to February 18 for Metuh to open his defence.

Earlier, the EFCC had claimed that it had 18 witnesses that were ready to testify against Metuh, but ended up presenting 8 witnesses.

Metuh and his firm, Destra Investment limited, are being tried before the court on a seven-count charge of money laundering.

He was accused of receiving, through his firm, the sum of N400 million from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, under the administration of former President, Goodluck Jonathan, without any evidence of contract executed.

However, the EFCC allegedly gripped with fear of losing out in the case, amended the seven–count charge, following which Metuh was asked to plead afresh to the amended charge.

When called upon later to open his defence, Metuh’s lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, said his client was desirous of making a no-case submission.

He sought the judge’s guidance on whether to make the submission orally or in written form.

“We most humbly pray that we be permitted to make a no-case submission,” he said

Related: SHOCK! Buhari is after my life – Metuh cries

Ikpeazu noted that the procedure was not clear under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015, adding that, “we acknowledge that this is a criminal trial and parties cannot on their own file written submissions. We have articulated our submissions of about 35 pages.”

Lead prosecution lawyer, Sylvanus Tahir, noted that it was within the right of the defence to make a no-case submission at the end of the case of the prosecution.

Tahir urged the judge to give a directive on how the defence should proceed with the no-case submission.

Ruling‎, Justice Abang noted that the ACJA 2015, did not make provision for the filing of a written address in a criminal trial, but said the defence lawyer had the liberty to go about the no-case submission in whichever form he considered best for his client.

He expressed his preference for a written submission by saying: “the option of a written address would save the judicial time of the court”.

The judge added: “Leave is hereby granted to parties to file written addresses for and in opposition to the defendants’ no-case submission.

“Upon the filing and service, the pros shall file its response within three days from today. Upon service by the prosecution, the defendants shall have be at liberty to serve a reply on point of law.‎”

He adjourned to February 25, at 12 noon for the adoption of the parties’ written addresses

Before now, the PDP in a statement had questioned the legality of Buhari to arrest and detain the party’s spokesman for days without trial.

The PDP had said Metuh’s arrest was a grand design by President Muhammadu Buhari to silence and decimate the opposition party.

In a statement by the National Secretary, Professor Adewale Oladipo, PDP said Metuh’s arrest did not come to the party as a surprise owing to series of threats by the APC and the Federal Government over the stance of the opposition party on the state of the nation.

Related: The secret behind Metuh’s trial exposed