A prosecution witness and former wealth manager with the Commercial Resource Management Company has told the court how Mr Olisa Metuh allegedly gave her the sum of two million dollars and how she managed the funds for him.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission opened its case against the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Olisa Metuh at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday.
Led in evidence, the first prosecution witness, one Miss Nicole Ararume, told the court that she received two million dollars in 100 dollar bills from him which she took to two bureau the change companies for onward transfer to the Asset and Resources Management account of Mr Metuh and his company, Destra Investment Limited.
The lawyers to Mr Metuh asked for an adjournment for him to prepare materials required for cross examination but the judge refused to adjourn the cross examination of the prosecution witness on the grounds that there was no cogent reason before the court to do so.
Consequently, a second witness – the owner of a bureau de change company was invited to testify and he corroborated the first witness’s testimony.
He recounted how he received half of the said fund and transferred same to the account of Mr Metuh.
In what has become the usual, Mr Metuh arrived the court premises in the company of prison officials and in handcuffs but this did not deter him from exchanging banters and hugs with friends and relations.
In his earlier attempt to get an adjournment, counsel to Mr Metuh, Oyeachi Ikpeazu, had complained that it had been difficult to adequately prepare for trial as the prison officials have made interaction with his client difficult.
He told the court that the allegations of the witness were serious and there was a need to get the necessary documents to enable him adequately cross examine her.
The counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Tahir Sylvanus, objected to the application, saying: “It has been known to the defence that trial will commence today, as such, it should have adequately prepared for the case”.
Mr Sylvanus also told the court that he had front loaded all the account details relating to the transaction, as such there was no cogent reason why the hearing should be adjourned.
Again Mr Ikpeazu argued that he could not cross examine a prosecution witness based on its document but the defence would rely on its own generated document to do so.
A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court has granted the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Olisa Metuh bail in the sum of 300 million Naira and two sureties in like sum.
In the ruling on Friday, the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello, stressed that the sureties must be resident in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.
Mr Metuh is facing a seven-count charge of criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering.
He is accused of receiving 400 million Naira from the former National Security Adviser, retired colonel Sambo Dasuki.
The amount is part of the allegedly diverted sum of $2.1 billion meant for the purchase of arms.
The bail followed an oral application filed by Mr Metuh’s counsel, Mr Oyeachi Ikpeazu, in a case of destruction of evidence filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Mr Ikpeazu told the court that Mr Metuh would not jump bail or interfere with his trial, as such he should be granted bail on self-recognizance.
But counsel to the EFCC, who did not oppose bail, however asked the court to grant bail with conditions that would ensure Mr Metuh’s presence in court for his trial.
The EFCC had accused Mr Metuh of destroying evidence and properties belonging to the anti-graft agency, contrary to section one and section 326 of the Penal Code.
The bail amount is 100 million Naira less than that initially given as condition by a High Court on Tuesday.
Delivering a bench ruling on Tuesday in the bail application filed by Mr Metuh, Justice Obong Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered him to pay 400 million Naira.
Mr Metuh is to also provide two sureties that must provide 200 million Naira bail bond each.
The court said both sureties must be resident in Abuja and should swear an affidavit of means with two passport photographs.
The presiding judge also ordered the Chief Registrar of the court to ascertain the documents of the said properties and ensure they belong to the sureties.
Mr Metuh was also ordered to deposit his travel document with the court.
Justice Abang, however, decline jurisdiction in Mr Metuh’s second application seeking to stop the anti-graft agency from re-arresting him.
Inside the court, defence lawyers and the prosecution argued the application for bail filed by Mr Metuh.
In his argument, the prosecutor, Mr Sylvanus Tahir, had asked the court to reject his application for bail.
He argued that according to section 163 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, Metuh could not be granted bail because he attempted to destroy evidence against him.
He told the court that he had a counter-affidavit to depose to the fact that there was a tendency and propensity which he exhibited which showed he would interfere with the trial and impede justice.
But counsel to the accused person, Chris Uche, told the court that the anti-graft agency had not brought any evidence or documents to support its claim, insisting that it is a mere speculation.
He said there was no evidence to show that his client tore the statements he made to the commission and therefore he should be granted bail.
Mr Uche criticised the anti-graft agency for bringing his client to court in handcuffs and asked the court to call the prisons authorities to order.
“My client is still innocent until proven otherwise,” he stressed.
Justice Abang admitted Mr Metuh to bail and fixed trail for January 25.
He, however, asked the anti-graft agency to ensure that it had all of its witnesses ready for trial.
But pending the fulfillment of his bail conditions, Mr Metuh will remain in Kuje prison
The company said Iyenome was an independent broker and a licensed Bureau de Change operator, who had business transactions with the company through its subsidiary, CIT Bureau De Change Limited within the guidelines allowed by the law.
The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, has asked a Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna to quash a case brought before it by two chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), seeking to stop him from contesting for the presidency in 2015.
The counsel representing President Jonathan made the request on Monday at the hearing of the case.
The suit was brought before the court by the two members of the PDP, Richard Mneaga, and Shuaibu Lilli.
They are seeking among other things, an order of the court to disqualify President Jonathan from presenting himself as the presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2015 election.
They also wanted the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission to restrain the PDP from accepting nomination of Jonathan as a presidential candidate in the 2015 election.
In the suit filed on October 7, 2013, they insisted that Jonathan had completed eight years in office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria calculated from May 29, 2007, when Late Yar’Adua was sworn-in. President Jonathan was his vice president at that time.
The plaintiffs are seeking “a declaration that President Jonathan is not entitled to a tenure of office as President exceeding eight years calculated from 2007”.
However, the president, through his counsel, Fabian Ajoku(SAN) told the court to dismiss the petition as the plaintiffs lack the legal right or capacity to bring the matter before the court, expressing optimism that the case would be struck out at the end of the day.
But counsel to the petitioners, Abiodun Owonikoko, asked the court to treat the case based on its merit.
Before the ruling, there was a mild drama inside the court room over double representation by two separate counsels to Jonathan, which was temporarily resolved by the presiding judge, Justice Evelyn Anyadike.
The case has been adjourned to February 12, 2013 for hearing.