N400m fraud: Metuh files application to suspend trial

by Dolapo Adelana

The former spokesman of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, has prayed the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja, to halt hearing in his matter, pending a decision of the Supreme Court on his no-case submission appeal.

Metuh is currently on trial for allegedly receiving the sum of N400m from a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

Counsel to Metuh, Mr Onyeachi Ikpeazu (SAN), who moved the application, said the request for adjournment of the trial was in order.

He said the Supreme Court had started hearing the appeal and would deliver its ruling on June 9.

Ikpeazu described the application as a simple application, relying on Section 6, subsection 6(a) of the Constitution.

He said, “The present application is not an application for stay of proceedings or to adjourn the matter sine die.

“The only point which this court ought to decide at this sitting is whether the Federal High Court ought to defer to the Supreme Court in a situation where the Supreme Court has already started hearing the same matter.

“The law is settled, that at all times, a High Court will be acting in accordance with judicial procedure by refraining from any act that will foist a fait-accompli on the Supreme Court.

“As counsel, we all are expected to assist the court and not to put the court in a precarious position. It is also on record that we have asked the Supreme Court to take the application instantly.”

Metuh’s counsel held that the decision was 100 percent at the discretion of the court, but added that the court should exercise such discretion judicially and judiciously in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.

Arguing in support of the motion, Mr Tochukwu Onwugbufo (SAN), counsel to Destra Investment Limited, the second defendant, aligned himself with Ikpeazu’s submissions.

He said, “A High Court cannot share jurisdiction with the Supreme Court. The application is not asking for indefinite adjournment, but an adjournment to a specific date occasioned by the decision of the Supreme Court.”

But the prosecuting counsel, Mr Sylvanus Tahir, opposed the application saying it was a ploy to waste the time of the court.

He said, “We vehemently opposed this application, praying for an order to adjourn further proceedings to await the ruling of the application in the Supreme Court which will come in the distant future.”

Tahir said the application was an attempt to delay the trial, urging the court to dismiss the application.

The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, adjourned the matter till May 2 to rule on the application for stay of proceedings.

He, however, adjourned the hearing of the 2nd defendant’s application for similar adjournment till March 23.

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