The former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, on Wednesday approached the Federal High Court in Abuja with an application seeking approval to travel abroad for medical attention.
He also asked for the release of his International Passport to enable him travel abroad to attend to his health.
In his application moved by his lawyer, Mr Emeka Etiaba (SAN), Metuh urged Justice Okon Abang to grant him leave to travel abroad on health reasons.
Arguing the application for the release of Metuh’s travel document yesterday, Etiaba, told the court that the application was different from the two previous ones, which the court had refused.
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 10 days and requires five weeks to heal.
He said, “Even when a defendant, in a trial as this, is due for a routine medical check up, court 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 (Metuh) in this matter, to show our sincerity in our application for him to travel abroad on medical grounds”.
In his submission, lawyer to a firm allegedly linked to Metuh, Destra Investments Limited, 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 will speed up the trial as Metuh will have no reason to be absent from court for his trial.
But the prosecuting lawyer, Mr Sylvanus Tahir, opposed the application on the grounds that Metuh had failed to place sufficient materials before the court to warrant its discretion on the application.
He said all the exhibits the defence attached to support the affidavit were not convincing and that none qualify as a medical report to warrant a critical look by the court to see Metuh’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 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.
The EFCC had told the court that the N400million, released to Metuh by the erstwhile NSA, Col. 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 ONSA operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to Metuh, via account No. 0040437573, which his firm operated with Diamond Bank Plc.
Metuh, who was carried to last month to the courtroom on a stretcher, is facing a seven count charge. But the court had during its earlier sitting admitted him to a N400million bail.
Metuh was also granted bail with two sureties with N200 million each. The court added that the sureties must have landed properties in Maitama district of Abuja.
The case has been adjourned till today.