Metuh hires Oziokor as new lawyer in alleged N400 million fraud case
Former National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, has engaged a new lawyer, Abel Oziokor, to defend him in the alleged N400 million fraud case. Oziokor’s engagement followed the withdrawal of former counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), who had been in charge of the case since 2015.
Metuh and his company, Dextra Investment Ltd, are being prosecuted by the Federal Government over alleged money laundering and illegal receipt of funds from the office of the National Security Adviser Ikpeazu had informed the court at the last sitting of an application he filed seeking leave of the court to withdraw from the matter.
And when the matter resumed yesterday, the attention of the court was drawn to a letter written by Metuh debriefing Ikpeazu from continuing as his counsel.
Justice Abang, who wondered why the first defendant would debrief his former counsel only few days after the counsel applied to withdraw from the case, however, held that there was nothing the court could do other than respect the decision of the defendant.
“The court cannot question his decision or carry out an investigation to know why he is disengaging his client. It is his fundamental right.
“Ikpeazu, having been debriefed, cannot be compelled to continue as counsel to the first defendant. He is hereby discharged as counsel to the first defendant in this case,” the judge held.He accordingly dismissed the application of Ikpeazu seeking withdrawal from the case on the ground that the application had been overtaken by event.
He added that the outcome of the motion would not serve any useful purpose in the case.The new counsel, Oziokor however applied for a short adjournment to enable him properly defend his client.Justice Abang subsequently adjourned the matter till March 28, 2019 for continuation of the trial.He, however, warned that the court would not entertain frivolous applications from any counsel.