Justice Okon Abang of Federal Court has softened the conditions attached to the bail granted to Olisa Metuh, the National Publicity Secretary of Peoples Democratic Party being tried on charges of money laundering and corruption.
Metuh who was granted bail by Justice Okon on 19 February had remained in Kuje prison where he was initially remanded after his first arraignment because of his inability to meet his bail conditions.
The court had among others, granted Metuh bail in the sum of N400 million and two sureties in the sum of N200 million each. The Court added that the sureties must own property at Maitaima area of Abuja.
Also, the court directed that the prosecution counsel should join in the verification of title deeds of the property.
Lawyers to Metuh in an application filed last Monday asked the court to vary the aspect of the bail related to where the two sureties of the PDP National Secretary must own property.
They also asked the court to remove aspect of the conditions stipulating that the prosecution counsel should join in verification of the title deeds of the property within 24 hours of being informed that the sureties are available.
While ruling on the application, Justice Okon noted that the prosecution counsel failed to oppose the application as demanded with a written affidavit.
The judge also said what the defence team asked for amounted to asking a court to review its own decision, but noted that the court is also enjoined to do everything possible to give effects to its order.
Justice Abang said since the purpose of bail is to give liberty to the defendant to be able to defend himself, and he has deposed to affidavit that while he has not been able to get anybody in Maitaima to stand surety for him, he has friends with more expensive property in other districts of the FCT, the court is compelled to vary the bail conditions.
“The court, in varying its earlier condition is not sitting in an appeal, but making an order to give effects to its earlier condition,” Justice Abang said.
He thereby varied the second part of the bail conditions to read that the sureties must be resident of Abuja and own property in any part of FCT.
He, however, refused the second prayer of Metuh’s lawyer that the EFCC counsel should not be given the privilege of verifying the title deeds of the property.
The Judge said he has his reasons for making the order and if the defence counsel is dissatisfied with it, the only option is to go to on appeal.
He however assured that the court will ensure that the prosecution counsel will not be an obstacle to the fulfillment of the bail conditions.