Alleged N400m fraud: Court insists Metuh calls next witness pending Jonathan's appearance

Henrietta Strickland
December 6, 2017

But ruling on Monday, Justice Abang held that the court was empowered to set aside the subpoena as it was being used by the defence to cause a delay in the trial.

On Monday, while ordering the court bailiff to make another attempt to serve Jonathan with the witness summons, the judge insisted that the trial must continue with Metuh either testifying himself or calling another witness other than the former President as his next witness.

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 subpoena was the second to be issued on behalf of the defense witness in the matter.

According to the affidavit, the bailiff was told to come back to Jonathan's residence in the afternoon of December 11 to serve the former resident with the subpoena.

Olisa Metuh, has insisted that former President Goodluck Jonathan must appear in court before he (Metuh) decides to testify.

They also maintained that they would only determine if Metuh would personally testify after Jonathan's oral evidence in court.

The registrar of the court informed the trial Judge that the court bailiff had sworn to an affidavit of non-service of the subpoena notice on former President Jonathan.

In the affidavit read by a court registrar when the matter came up on Monday, the Bailiff recalled his last attempt to serve Jonathan, how a guard told him that the former leader travelled overseas and would be available on December 11.

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.

"Therefore, in the overall interest of justice, and I hope that the first defendant will take advantage of this, though the court can not 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".

"We ask for an adjournment to enable the former president to be served so that he can appear in court as a witness".

While opposing the application for adjournment by the defence, Sylvanus Tahir, representing the federal government in the matter said the personal service is not the only way through which summons can be served on a witness.

Tahir said the summons can be served on the intended witness through courier and added that due diligence has been exercised by the bailiff of the court, thereby justifying an alternative means of service.

The judge adjourned the matter to December 6.

Tahir argued that the defence had been given sufficient time to call its next witness, praying the court to, in the discharge of its judicial functions, ask the defence to call its next witness.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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