Court grants Metuh last opportunity to subpoena Jonathan

The Federal High Court in Abuja has given former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, one more chance to subpoena former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Background:

  • The EFCC had accused Metuh of fraudulently receiving the sum of N400m from the Office of the National Security Adviser without any justification and spent the funds on the party and personal affairs.
  • Metuh had urged the court subpoena Jonathan to appear before it as a defence witness in his trial.
  • In an application, Jonathan said Metuh must pay N1 billion to cover travelling expenses for himself and his security personnel from his home town, Otuoke in Bayelsa State, to Abuja and also for time that he might spend appearing before the court as President of Nigeria between 2010 to 2015.
  • He also added that the evidence being requested from him will expose him to a criminal charge.

What the judge said:

Justice Okon Abang on Monday he had the power to set aside the subpoena if it continues to delay the trial.

Okon, however, gave Metuh one last chance to provide a witness.

The judge said, “The submission of first defendant’s counsel, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), that the evidence of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in court will determine whether the first defendant (Metuh) will be called to testify is unknown to law. I so hold. The submission, in my respectful view, was not made in good faith. I so hold. This submission is in contravention of the Practice Direction of this court.

“Whether a party will call a witness or not, that cannot be predicated on the evidence of a witness yet to be called.

“Criminal trial is not a game of hide-and-seek. Criminal trial is not a battle where the contending parties will apply tricks to undo one another.

“It is not a game where a party will take the other by surprise. Therefore, I take it that the first defendant still has somebody to call as a witness other than Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to testify or testify in person. That is what I deduced from the submission.

“Therefore, in the overall interest of justice, and I hope that the first defendant will take advantage of this, though the court cannot compel him to give evidence in the matter, give the bailiff time to make an attempt to serve the subpoenaed witness by personal service and this will be for the last time. Therefore, this matter is adjourned till December 5 and 6, 2017, as previously stated to enable the first defendant to call any other witness other than the subpoenaed witness or testify in person. God willing on December 6, 2017, this matter will be adjourned to enable the bailiff, being the agent of the defendant, to make another attempt to personally serve the subpoenaed witness. I so hold.”

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