An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has refused a request by former spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, to adjourn his trial until a subpoena is served on former President Goodluck Jonathan to appear as his witness.
Mr. Metuh is facing trial for alleged diversion of N400 million from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, during the immediate past administration of Mr. Jonathan.
Mr. Metuh secured a subpoena on Mr. Jonathan to appear as his defence witness in October.
The subpoena was the second to be issued on behalf of the defence witness in the matter.
The court had earlier invited Mr. Dasuki based on a similar writ of summons.
Although Mr. Dasuki has since complied with his writ of summons, Mr. Jonathan’s subpoena is yet to be delivered to him by the court bailiff.
On Monday, the bailiff presented an affidavit that he was asked to return to Mr. Jonathan’s Abuja residence on December 11, to personally serve the former President with the writ of summons.
Based on that submission, the defence counsel, led by Emeka Etiaba, asked the court to suspend the trial to allow for the expected service of the subpoena on December 11.
That request was however refused by the judge, Okon Abang, who adjourned the matter to Tuesday.
On Tuesday, however, the defence counsel again submitted that it was only given less than 17 hours to present a new witness, adding that the time was too short for it to organize a new witness.
In his ruling, Mr. Abang said the defence team had over 30 days, during which they would have organized their next witness.
“This court on 3 November adjourned till December 4. The first defendant had over 30 days to prepare his next witness,” said Mr. Abang who added that the submission of Mr. Etiaba that the defence was denied adequate time was misleading.
Mr. Abang however denied asking Mr. Metuh to appear in court, saying he only noted that the defendant was at liberty to appear if he deemed it necessary.
“The court never asked the first defendant to appear in court as his witness. The court only stated that the first defendant was at liberty to present his witnesses,” Mr. Abang said.
Reiterating the previous decision of the court that it had powers to set aside its subpoena, Mr. Abang said an earlier ruling by the Abuja Division of the Appeal Court does not prevent his court from setting aside the subpoena.
“The declaration of the Appeal Court regarding the subpoena does not apply in this matter.
The judge adjourned the matter to December 6.