Metuh’s Trial: Witness Insists Party Raised Funds Spent

MetuhA defence witness in the trial of the spokesman for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Olisa Metuh, says former President Goodluck Jonathan made funds available to the accused for campaign purposes.

The witness, Mr Ikechukwu Abonyi, in his testimony insisted that the funds given to Mr Metuh were raised by the party’s campaign committee, as the Federal Government never funded the activities of the party.

Mr Abonyi under cross-examination said President Jonathan, as the leader of the party, was empowered to direct how campaign funds were disbursed.

The court on Wednesday continued the trial of the Mr Metuh and shortly after announcing appearances, Lawyer to the second defendant informed the court of a preliminary objection he filed, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to try his client.

The application was, however, opposed by the Prosecutor, who insisted that the matter was fixed for continuation of trial.

Justice Abang in a short ruling said the preliminary objection would be heard at the end of the case before judgment on the substantive suit would be delivered.

After the cross examination, lawyer to the second defendant, Destra Nigeria Limited, allegedly belonging to Mr Metuh, however, expressed disappointment with the position of the court on his preliminary objection.

The Prosecutor, Sylvanus Tahir, who raised an objection to the hearing of the application said the objection was only aimed at delaying the trial.

Lawyer to Mr Metuh, Ifedayo Adedipe, who supported the hearing of the Preliminary Objection, reaffirmed his preparedness to prove the innocence of his client.

Justice Okon Abang, after listening to the testimony of the first defence witness adjourned the case to April 27 for continuation of trial.

Mr Olisa Metuh is standing trial on allegations of financial crimes preferred against him by the EFCC.

NDDC To Partner With Polish Firm For Investment And Development

NDDCThe Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is discussing with officials of Em-Bud Studio 2000, an engineering firm from Poland, on areas of investment that would support the development efforts of the interventionist agency.

The Managing Director of NDDC, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, in a meeting with the representatives of the Polish company at the commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, said that the commission’s interest is partnering with organizations that shared its vision of fast-tracking development in the Niger Delta region

She assured the visiting officials that the Niger Delta region was safe for investments, and urged them not to entertain fears about working in the area. She added that the Em-Bud group did not make any mistake in looking in the direction of the Niger Delta for investment opportunities.

Representing the Acting Managing Director, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, the Directorate of Public and Private Partnership (PPP), Osmond Adiele, noted that the NDDC was constrained by inadequate funds which is the reason the commission is unable to make the required impact in the area of development projects.

He also dismissed insinuations that the commission had abandoned some of its projects.

The Chairman of Em-Bud Group, Mr. Emil Musial, while stating the reasons for the visit, said that their interest was in collaborating with the NDDC to develop the energy infrastructure in the region, especially in the area of solar power, as well as investing in projects that would turn waste products into wealth.

He added that the Polish company was not coming to Nigeria to experiment as they had executed similar projects in other developing countries.

The Chairman of the Em–Bud Group said that his company would attract international funding for developmental projects built around the PPP model which is working very well in other parts of the world.

Edo PDP Accuse Edo Govt Of Spending 428 Million On Foreign Trips

Edo PDPThe People’s Democratic Party in Edo State has alleged that the State Government spent 428 Million Naira for trips to Miami and Chicago in the United States of America.

The Edo PDP Chairman, Dan Orbih, who presented documents to support his claim, accused the state of spending so much money on trips while critical infrastructure is lacking in the state.

Orbih, who gave a breakdown of the money spent, said that he had decided against exposing the document until he was forced to, following the insistence of the Commissioner for Information that he lied.

He further said that the State Government should channel the state funds towards infrastructural development.

The Edo State Commissioner for Information, Louis Odion, in a swift reaction, said that the documents presented by the Edo PDP were fake as the state government transacts its business online.

He further clarified that the trip in question was a meeting of all Edo people in diaspora organised with the Edo people in diaspora in conjunction with government and not a picnic as alleged.

Akingbola opens defence on alleged N47.1billion theft

The former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank PLC (now Access Bank), Dr Erastus Akingbola, and his aide, one Bayo Dada, have opened their defence in the N47.1 billion theft charge made against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Both men opened their defence on Wednesday after the ruling of the trial judge, Justice Habeeb Abiru of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja.

In the ruling, the judge dismissed their “no case submission” and held that there is a connection between the evidence of the prosecution and the charges brought against the defendants.

With the ruling out of the way, the stage was set for the former bank boss to call his first witness, one Ayoola Olabisi.

The witness who says she is a Financial and Project Consultant testified that she was in the service of Intercontinental Bank for 19 years before her disengagement.

Counsel to the defense, led by Deji Sasegbon, the witness contradicted the testimony of the EFCC’s first prosecution witness, a Chief Inspector of the bank, Mr Abdulraheem Jimoh.

She testified that contrary to his claims, she responded to a request from one of Intercontinental bank’s correspondent banks, Deutsche Bank on the transfer of the sum of 10million pounds to the effect that it was not an irregular transaction

A copy of the letter in response to the enquiries of the Deutsche bank was subsequently tendered and admitted by the bank as exhibit.

The matter has however been adjourned till the 20th of June for continuation of the testimony of the witness.