Alleged N400m Fraud: Olisa Metuh gets a new lawyer as court discharges SAN, Ikpeazu
A Federal High Court in Abuja has discharged a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Onyechi Ikpeazu and his law firm from further legal representation a former spokesman of the People’s Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh in his alleged money laundering case.
On the last adjourned date, Justice Okon Abang had fixed Wednesday, March 13, 2019 to hear an application filed on March 5, by the learned senior counsel seeking to withdraw his legal representation and that of his team on grounds that they “have been under immense pressure with respect to their appearance in the case, including severe threat to their lives”.
However, the matter took a surprise twist at the resumed hearing on Wednesday when Mr Ikpeazu informed the court that the first defendant (Metuh) had written a letter dated March 6, informing him that his legal services were no longer needed.
“He said he believes we can no longer effectively represent him. He has a right to choose whoever he wants to represent him. Therefore, if it pleases the court, grant him his constitutional right and discharge me and other counsels in our chambers from further appearing” Ikpeazu said.
When asked about his previous application, Mr Ikpeazu made an oral application to withdraw it, stating that application is “spent and overtaken by events”.
Responding to the submissions of Mr Ikpeazu, counsel to the second defendant, Tochukwu Onwugbufor and counsel for the prosecution, Sylvanus Tahir were of the opinion that the previous application filed on March 5, should be argued. Tahir who had already filed a counter affidavit said “the strength of an affidavit of facts, does not equate to an application”
Delivering an erudite ruling, Justice Abang held that “the application has indeed been overtaken by events and asking the counsel to argue his application will not serve a useful purpose”.
“The moment a defendant debriefs a counsel, there is nothing a court can do. “He is hereby discharged as counsel to the first defendant in this case”.
The new counsel to the former spokesman, Abel Oziokor, however, prayed the court to grant him two weeks adjournment to enable him to have an in-depth understanding of the case in order to properly defend his client.
The matter was adjourned to March 28 for continuation.
Mr Metuh is facing a seven-count charge of diversion of N400 million from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
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