A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday dismissed an application by the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh, seeking adjournment of the case against him.
Metuh is standing trial alongside his company, Destra Investment Limited, for allegedly receiving N400 million meant for the purchase of arms for the military.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge.
At the resumed hearing of the case, a new counsel to Metuh’s company, Mr Tochukwu Onwegbufor (SAN), asked the court to adjourn the case to enable him study the case files.
Onwegbufor told the court that he was new in the matter and needed short adjournment.
However, Mr Sylvanus Tahir, counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), prosecutors of the case, opposed the application, saying that the second defendant could not present a new counsel.
Tahir argued that counsel to Metuh, Mr Emeka Etiaba (SAN), who was representing both defendants was present in court.
He also argued that Etiaba did not file any application to inform the court of his withdrawal from defending the second defendant.
Tahie, therefore, urged the court to refuse the oral application.
In his submission, Etiaba told the court that he filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal challenging the ruling of the high court on his client’s no-case submission.
In a ruling, Justice Okon Abang dismissed the defendants’ applications for adjournment, and for stay of proceedings.
Abang held that section 394 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 discouraged courts from granting more than five adjournments.
He said that it was on record that the defendant had taken five adjournments in this case.
Abang ruled that the second defendant was not entitled to any adjournment “for now”.
On the application for Stay of Proceedings, the judge held that section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 frowned at granting stay of proceedings in a criminal trial.
He, therefore, dismissed all the applications for lack of merit and adjourned the case till April 11 for the defence to open its case.
Meanwhile, the trial of former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, was adjourned till April 12.