Metuh’s Trial Suffers Setback As Lawyers Withdraw Over Alleged ‘Severe Threats’

Metuh Challenges Court To Examine His Health Status
File photo: Olisa Metuh

 

The trial of former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Olisa Metuh at the Federal High Court, Abuja, suffered a major setback following an application by the two of his counsel to withdraw from the matter.

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 to the tune of N400m for an alleged unexecuted contract.

The two lawyers Mr Onyechi Ikpeazu and Emeka Etiaba, announced before the court that they have filed a motion to withdraw from the matter.

Both counsels predicated their actions on what they described as, “Immense pressure with respect to their appearance in the case” as well as “severe threats” to their lives.

READ ALSOCourt Adjourns Dasuki’s Trial Till April

The counsel, also cited the order of the court for day to day hearing of the matter, which they noted that they cannot afford, “having regard to diaries of their respective offices.”

In the application, Metuh’s lawyers stated that; “they have been going through immense pressure with respect to their appearance in this case, including severe threats to their lives and will be unable to continue to represent the 1st Defendant.”

In an affidavit in support of the motion on notice, Dr Ikpeazu averred, “I have received numerous threats to my life from diverse sources through telephone calls with disguised numbers, giving an ultimatum and threatening to kill me based on the manner they claimed I had been mishandling the case”

Ikpeazu also stated in the affidavit, that Emeka Etiaba had also informed him that “he had received similar threats and thus will no longer proceed with the representation of the 1st Defendant.”

He contended that “in the circumstance, it is impossible to avail the 1st Defendant the legal representation he deserves in this case” and applied that the court grant the application to withdraw from the case in line with Section 349 (7), (8) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

The matter was adjourned to March 13, 2019.

Metuh’s Trial To Continue In His Absence, Court Rules

Metuh Challenges Court To Examine His Health Status
Mr Olisa Metuh

 

The trial of a former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Olisa Metuh, will proceed in his absence, the Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled.

Justice Okon Abang gave the ruling on Wednesday, two days after Mr Metuh fell in court with his counsel calling on the court to allow him to proceed for treatment abroad.

But the judge held that Mr Metuh had made several attempts to frustrate the trial and that he fell in court on purpose on Monday.

The judge, consequently, dismissed an application by Mr Metuh seeking to halt his trial due to ill health.

According to him, the court is entitled to continue the trial in his absence.

“The trial shall proceed in the absence of the defendant. See Section 266(a) and section 352(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015,” Justice Abang said.

The court also ordered that the General Manager of Channels Television in Abuja and a presenter of the station’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, be summoned over allegations of prejudicial statements made on the programme.

Court Rejects Metuh’s Application To Travel Abroad

List Of Alleged Looters: Metuh Accuses FG Of Intimidation
File photo: Olisa Metuh

 

A Federal High Court in Abuja is in about the claim of ill health by the former national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Olisah Metuh.

Justice Okon Abang expressed his reservations while delivering a ruling on an application filed by mister Metuh seeking the release of his passport to enable him to travel abroad to treat a spinal cord ailment.

The trial judge questioned why Metuh had not appealed the two earlier decisions of the court that refused to release his international passport.

He voiced his suspicions that there might be a hidden agenda by the politician to present the court as inhuman, by filing the same application before the trial court a third time, rather than going on appeal.

Justice Abang agreed with the arguments of the prosecution that filing the application for the third time was an unpardonable and reckless abuse of judicial processes.

He concluded by saying he cannot sit on appeal over his own judgment, having already refused an application for the release of Metuh’s passport twice.

Metuh Seeks Court’s Permission For Treatment Abroad

Metuh
File photo: Olisa Metuh

 Former National Publicity Secretary of the People Democratic Party (PDP) Olisa Metuh, is asking a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, to grant him permission to travel abroad for medical treatment.

At the resumed trial on Wednesday, Mr Metuh who arrived the court on a wheelchair informed the court through his counsel, Emeka Etiaba, that his health is fast failing due to spinal cord compression which requires a corrective surgery at a hospital in London.

The Prosecutor, Sylvanus Tahir, who declined to speak to newsmen, however, opposed the application on the ground that Mr Metuh had filed similar applications in the past which was not granted.

He added that the present application seeking permission to travel abroad did not provide sufficient materials before the court to enable the court grant his request.

The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, after listening to both counsels adjourned the case to March 15, 2018. for the continuation of trial.

Mr Metuh is standing trial for alleged money laundering being part of the funds linked with former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

Metuh’s Trial: Court Fixes Date To Review Attempts To Serve Jonathan Subpoena

Metuh

The Federal High Court has fixed a new date to review attempts to serve former President Goodluck Jonathan subpoena, in the ongoing trial of former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh.

Metuh is currently being tried for allegedly fraudulently receiving the sum of N400million from the office of the National Security Adviser without any justification and spending the same on the party and personal affairs.

It will be recalled that in the course of the trial, Former President Goodluck Jonathan had earlier asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to compel Metuh, to pay the sum of N1billion to cover his travel expenses to appear as a defence witness in Metuh’s trial. Metuh in response had told the court that he cannot afford the sum of N1 billion to give former President Goodluck Jonathan to appear as his defence in court.

Also, during the trial, the detained former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki has told the Federal High Court in Abuja, that he could no longer remember the details of his dealings with Metuh, in 2014 and that he cannot recall if the sum of N400 million was paid to Metuh.

During the continuation of the trial today, November 3, the case is adjourned to December 4th, 5th and 6th, allow the Defence Counsel review the report of attempts to serve former President Goodluck Jonathan with the summons of the court.

‘You Must Testify,’ Court Tells Dasuki

Col. Dasuki To Take Fresh Plea In January

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered detained former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki to appear and testify in defence of a former National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh.

Justice Okon Abang said the former NSA will take the stand and testify because by the court’s action it is only obeying the ruling of the appeal court which ordered it to make an order of subpoena to the DSS for the former NSA to testify.

READ ALSO: DSS Produces Dasuki In Court For Metuh’s Trial

He said granting the application will go against the decision of the apellate court and because he is not a party to the suit, he cannot make application for an adjournment.

The justice of the case he says demands that the court dismiss the application for lacking in merit.

Justice Abang, after dismissing the application, ordered Dasuki to enter the witness box and testify.

It will be recalled that the DSS earlier today, November 1, produced Dasuki, in court in compliance with an order of the Federal High Court in Abuja, that the ex-NSA should appear as a witness in the ongoing trial of Metuh.

I Cannot Recall My Dealings With Metuh, Dasuki Tells Court

Again, Nigerian Government Seeks Secret Trial For Dasuki, ex-NSA Objects

The detained former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki has told the Federal High Court in Abuja, that he could no long remember the details of his dealings with the former National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, in 2014.

During the continuation of Metuh’s trial in court, today, November 1, and when asked if he had any dealing with Metuh or his company, Dasuki said he cannot recall if he had any dealings with them from his memory.

He said, “if I had any dealings as it relates to this case. It is not possible that without references to my record I can say I had any dealings with them.”

When asked if he knows the functions of the National Security Adviser, Dasuki said it is public knowledge that he is essentially a principal staff officer in the office of the president.

He was then asked why he is in court.

Dasuki said he is in court to answer a subpoena even though he has not benefitted from other court rulings.

The court then asked Dasuki to explain why Chief Metuh and his company are being charged for receiving money from his office as NSA.

Dasuki said it will be difficult to give any details on the issue of monies paid to Olisa Metuh and his company without references to his records.

“Three years is a long time to recall such. I cannot answer questions on the charges without consulting my records,” Dasuki said.

He was then asked to tell the court when he will have access to his records.

The former NSA said, as soon as the authorities decide to obey four subsisting orders for bail in his favour and one ECOWAS court ruling and release him from the ‘hole’ he is in, that is when he will be able to give a timeline.

“But as long as I am in detention the answer is I don’t know,” Dasuki said.

When asked If he is making efforts to enforce the orders. He said he has processes in court and maybe by the time the case gets to the Supreme Court and it is in his favour those in charge today will obey.

He was then asked to confirm if his appeal at the supreme court is on the 25th of January 2018.

Dasuki said ‘Yes.’

The counsel to Metuh in his application to the court said he has a witness who is willing to testify but after taking introductory questions, he is unable to answer questions with regards to specific actions of his when he was NSA.

“My witness insists that he has to refresh his memory and look at his document before he can give correct answers to questions been asked,” he said.

He added that Dasuki’s position is justifiable, because even the registrar of the court warned him against giving any false witness.

I Don’t Have N1billion To Give Jonathan, Metuh Tells Court

Metuh

The embattled former National Publicity Secretary to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Olisa Metuh has told the court that he cannot afford the sum of N1 billion to give former President Goodluck Jonathan to appear as his defence in court.

It will be recalled that Former President Goodluck Jonathan has earlier asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to compel Metuh, to pay N1billion to cover his travel expenses to appear as a defence witness in Metuh’s trial.

Speaking today at the continuation of his trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja with respect to the prayer seeking for a deposit of N1bilion, Metuh says he does not have N1 billion to give the Former President Goodluck Jonathan.

It is his belief that the figure is punitive and meant to frustrate his effort at obtaining evidence that will assist him in the defence of his case.

He adds that it is his view that from the first day he was arrested that the release of the money for which he is standing trial was authorised by the Former President and released by the former National Security Adviser at his prompting.

However, he says that if the application is to save the nation from the embarrassment of docking a Former President, it would have been aborted if the charge against Metuh was not preferred.

Haven gotten this far it is the defendant’s position that this application should be struck out.

DSS Produces Dasuki In Court For Metuh’s Trial

Again, Nigerian Government Seeks Secret Trial For Dasuki, ex-NSA Objects

The Department of State Services (DSS) has finally produced the detained former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, in court.

This is in compliance with an order of the Federal High Court in Abuja, that the ex-NSA should appear as a witness in the ongoing trial of a former Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Olisa Metuh.

Dasuki was produced by DSS operatives ahead of the Wednesday’s proceedings.

He, is however yet to take the stand and this will be dependent on whether the court rules in favour of or against his motion seeking for a stay of proceedings pending his appeal before the appellate court.

 

The Federal Government is however opposed to the application for stay. On the grounds that the success or failure of the application lies on the interpretation of Section 305 of the administration of criminal justice act. The section says two conditions must be satisfy for the application to scale. A question bothering on the computer sitting must have arisen before the case can be referred to the appeal court and that there must be a refrences to a party to the case. But the application is by someone who is not a party to the suit.

Meanwhile, counsel to President Goodluck Jonathan has moved an  application seeking for the court to set aside the order of subpoena.

According to Mr Mike Ozohkome, the application  is predicated on eight grounds and two additional grounds for the  alternative order he is seeking.

According to him the order is basically to set aside the order of subpoena for President Goodluck Jonathan.

He adds “We are saying the evidence sought to be extracted from him will amount to invasion of his personal right to privacy and family life provided by section 37 of the 1999 constitution and that notwithstanding the provision of 175 which makes him a competent witness because he is no longer a sitting President.

“Section 183 of the same act is applicable here which provides that no one is bound to answer any question of it will open such a person to any criminal charge, or forfeiture against him or his wife.

“We have shown in our affidavit the series of attempt and embarrassment made on him and his wife since he left office by freezing his wife’s accounts in many cases across Nigeria.

“The subpoena is vague and applied for on grounds we consider to be frivolous.”

Jonathan Seeks N1bn From Metuh To Appear As Witness

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to compel the former National Publicity Secretary to the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Olisa Metuh, to pay N1bn to cover his travel expenses to appear as a defence witness in Metuh’s trial.

At the resumed trial of Mr Metuh on Tuesday, Jonathan’s counsel, Mr Mike Ozekhome, asked the court to either set aside the subpoena for his appearance or compel to pay the amount.

Ozekhome told the court that the demand for the payment is in line with the provisions of Section 241 subsection 2 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and is meant to cover travel expenses for himself and his security personnel from his hometown in Otuoke, Bayelsa State to Abuja.

The amount is will also cover logistics and provision of tight security to cover whatever time the former President will spend appearing before the court.

Mr Ozekhome told the court that the application is supported by eight grounds and that the court ought to hear the application.

The grounds include that the evidence Mr Metuh is seeking from Jonathan would amount to an invasion of his privacy and family life as provided for in Section 37 of the Constitution.

Another ground is that the evidence will expose the former President to a criminal charge, penalty or forfeiture, arguing also that the grounds for the subpoena was frivolous.

The former PDP National Publicity Secretary along with his company, Destra Investments Limited, is being tried for allegedly receiving N400m fraudulently from the office of the NSA under Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd) and on charges involving cash transaction involving $2m.

More to follow…

Metuh Demands Arrest Of DSS DG Over Dasuki’s Absence In Court

Mr Metuh and Director-General of the DSS, Mr Lawan Daura

The former National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party, Mr Olisa Metuh, has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to order the arrest of the Director-General of the Department of State Security after the agency failed to produce Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd) in court.

Mr Metuh’s counsel had made the request on Tuesday at the resumption of his trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly receiving N400m fraudulently from the office of National Security Adviser and on charges involving cash transaction involving $2m.

The request came after the prosecutor, Mr Sylvanus Tahir, informed the court that even though the EFCC wrote to the DSS asking it to produce the former National Security Adviser in court, the DSS failed to do so.

Tahir said the legal adviser to the DSS told him that Dasuki refused to come to court on the grounds that his legal team advised him not to do so.

But Metuh’s counsel, however, countered the explanation by asking to court to issue a warrant of arrest against the DSS DG because the explanation by Tahir showed that the DSS lacked respect for the court and are playing games with it.
According to him, it is absurd that a detainee appears more powerful than the court.

Counsel to Dasuki, however, told the court that lacked the jurisdiction to hear an appeal filed by his client.

The former NSA had approached the court seeking a stay of the subpoena it issued for his appearance as a defence witness pending the determination of his application before the appeal court.

Dasuki’s counsel added that as a result of the motion it had filed before the court of appeal, he has filed a motion before the Federal High Court seeking to withdraw an earlier motion he filed seeking an order of stay of proceedings on all things related to the subpoena, pending the determination of the motion before the appeal court.

He also asked the court to expunge the submissions of the prosecutor that Colonel Dasuki refused to appear before the court. According to him, it is a misleading and baseless hearsay against his client.

Court Strikes Out Dasuki’s Application In Metuh’s Trial

Col. Dasuki To Take Fresh Plea In JanuaryA Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has struck out the application filed by Colonel Sambo Dasuki, insisting he must appear before the court as a defence witness in the trial of the former spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh.

Justice Abang in his ruling struck out the application on the ground that Colonel Dasuki is not a party in the case before him and as such the court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the application.

The judge stated that entertaining the application will amount to an invitation to judicial anarchy.

He further noted all issues raised by Dasuki, through his lawyer, Mr. Ahmed Raji had become academic, since the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the complaints.

“If Dasuki is dissatisfied, he should know what to do and where to go, but certainly not this court,” the judge added.

But the second witness, former President, Goodluck Jonathan, failed to appear before the court today, despite the court orders that he should appear to testify as a witness in defence of Mr Metuh.

[READ ALSO] Metuh’s Trial: Jonathan Fails To Appear Before Court

The presiding judge has again directed the court bailiff to serve the former President, with a summon within five days.

Justice Abang ordered the prosecution to persuade the Department of State Security (DSS) to produce the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki in court at the next trial which is October 31, 2017.

[READ ALSO]  Metuh’s Trial: Judge Orders Bailiff To Serve Jonathan Summons

According to the judge, it will enable the summoned witness to appear in court to testify at the instance of Mr Metuh.