Alleged Money Laundering: Jonathan Gave Me N400m, Not Dasuki, Metuh Tells Court

File Photo

 

The Former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mr Olisa Metuh has told the Federal High Court in Abuja that the N400m project fund for which he is standing trial was paid to him by former President Goodluck Jonathan and not the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki as alleged by the EFCC. 

Mr. Metuh informed the court that the money which led to his arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on money laundering charges was paid to him by former president Jonathan to execute some national assignment for the federal government.

Giving evidence on behalf of his company, Dextra Investment Ltd which is the second defendant in the suit and the account where the N400m was paid into, the ex-spokesperson of the PDP told Justice Okon Abang that he could not consider the money for the act of any unlawful purpose because it came from the then President.

Metuh recalled that he held a meeting with the then president where various issues and challenges facing the country were discussed; adding that former President Jonathan promised and made the N400m available to him to carry out the national assignment.

READ ALSO: Tribunal Adjourns Hearing On HDP’s Application For Cancellation Of Presidential Election

He stressed that the money could not have been for an unlawful purpose because he was helping and contributing to stabilizing the then government because President Jonathan was elected on the PDP platform.

Metuh specifically dismissed allegations that the money was channeled to him through Dasuki. “I did not receive any money from Colonel Sambo Dasuki.

“As I am talking on oath before this court now, I can say categorically that Dasuki has not been interrogated, charged or convicted for any act relating to me and my company Metuh added.

“The N400m was paid into my account by the then president and I did not conceal or disguise the money and it was not transferred out of jurisdiction”, he said.

He urged the court to take a look at the list of disbursement carried out in cash and in the cheque.

Mr. Metuh also dismissed the insinuation that the N400m was meant to fund the PDP, adding that at the period, the PDP was rich to the tune of N33bn, with N12bn generated from sales of nomination forms and N21bn raked from fundraising.

Further cross-examination has been adjourned to June 24, 25 and 26 respectively.

 Alleged Money Laundering: Olisa Metuh’s Trial Resumes

 

The trial of the former national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh has resumed at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

In a short bench ruling on Tuesday, the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, ordered Channels Television to play the DVD of its morning programme, Sunrise Daily, where issues on the Metuh’s health were discussed.

The prosecution counsel had told the court that one of Metuh’s counsel, Ben Chuks Nwosu, who featured on the programme, made comments that touched on the subject matter pending before the court, for which Metuh is standing trial.

After watching the video the trial judge said it was clear that the program was aired outside the court so he has no jurisdiction to determine their statements are prejudicial to the case before the court.

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

The former national publicity secretary of the PDP is standing trial for alleged money laundering. He had also appealed to the court to grant him leave for medical treatment abroad.

Metuh has been on trial since 2015 for allegedly collecting N400million from the former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

UPDATED: Judge Insists Metuh’s Trial Will Continue In His Absence, Criticises Counsel

 

The trial of the former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, for alleged N400 million fraud continued on Friday with the defendant still absent in court.

It is the second time Mr Metuh will be absent in court due to ill health and the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, has insisted that the case will continue despite his absence.

As the trial commenced, the prosecutor stated in his submission that more than 40 minutes after, no single lawyer had appeared on behalf of the defendant neither was there any letter to explain their whereabouts.

He also noted that the absence of Metuh’s counsel is willful because even if there was a letter, it ought to have come three days before today’s trial commenced, and as such the proceedings should continue as scheduled.

But in his submission, Mr Owugbufor (counsel to the second defendant) which is Mr Metuh’s company, said he is aware of section 349 subsection 2, which according to him, states that where a defence lawyer is absent from court after two adjournments, the court shall ask the defendant if  he wishes to keep engaging such a lawyer.

He further stated that if he then wishes to get a new counsel, the court ought to give him (the defendant) a period of 30 days to engage another counsel of his choice.

He also referred the court to subsection 4 which states that where a defendant is unable to get a lawyer the court shall make provision of a lawyer by way of legal aid for the defendant.

Owugbufor, therefore, argued that the application of the prosecutor is premature and should be dismissed or if the court wishes, it can be struck out until when the court considers the law.

The judge, however, maintained that the trial would go on despite Metuh’s absence.

Earlier the court summoned the General Manager of Channels Television Abuja office and a presenter of the station’s flagship programme Sunrise Daily, Maupe Ogun-Yusuf, to appear in court over allegations of prejudicial statements made on the programme.

The prosecution counsel had frowned at the appearance of a lawyer involved in the matter on Sunrise Daily and therefore asked that the representatives of Channels Television appear in court.

While addressing the court, Counsel to Channels TV said the order was forwarded to the chairman of the board because there is no officer known as the General Manager of Channels Television.

According to him, the chairman directed the Senior Manager News and Corporate Services of Channels Television, Oluyemisi Ipaye and also Mrs Maupe Ogun-yusuf to appear before the court today (Friday).

In his ruling, Justice Abang commended the station for complying with the order, even before it was made, saying it would help the court resolve the issues speedily.

He, however, ordered that the station appears again on July 3, at 9.00am with its equipment to play the said clips.

This, according to him will enable the court decide whether the alleged prejudicial statements related to the case were aired on the program.

Metuh who has been on trial since 2015 over funds he allegedly collected from the former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki, collapsed in court on Monday (May 21) and has not been seen since then.

Olisa Metuh Absent In Court As Trial Continues

Metuh being attended to by medical officers in court on Monday, May 21, 2018.

 

Barely 24 hours after he collapsed in court, trial of the former Spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Olisa Metuh has continued at the Federal High Court in Abuja in his absence.

At the trial which commenced on Tuesday, counsel to his company, Destra Investment which is also on trial asked the court for an adjournment because Mr Metuh is receiving treatment at the hospital.

But the prosecutor, Mr Sylvania Tahir, in his reply to the application said that it has not been brought to the notice of the court what transpired after the defendant was taken to the hospital, especially because the court did not invite the medical personnel who attended to the defendant.

Mr Tahir said as a result of that Metuh is not entitled to enjoy the benefits of section 266 of ACJA.

According to him, it should not be presumed that the court or the prosecution knows the state of the accused person at the moment as there is no medical report before this court explaining the absence of the defendant in this case.

He noted that what is playing out is a complete disregard and disobedience to the authority of the court and the judiciary.

Mr Tahir said that there is no reasonable explanation for the absence of the defendant and so he cannot enjoy the benefits of section 266 of ACJA.

“We are urging the court to invoke the subsection A of the said act to take the conduct of the accused yesterday and continuance today as misconduct and proceed with the trial in his absence”.

He said that going on with the trial in the absence of Metuh will not amount to the violation of the right to fair hearing as submitted by counsel to Destra in his submission.

He added that a defendant cannot hold the court to ransom by doing things or taking steps deliberately intended to scuttle or frustrate the fair trial of a case.

Olisa Metuh Collapses In Court

File Photo of Olisa Metuh wheeled to an Abuja High Court on a stretcher on Monday, February 5, 2018.

 

The former national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Olisa Metuh has collapsed during his resumed trial in an Abuja High Court on Monday.

He was trying to make his way to the dock when he suddenly collapsed.

The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, asked the court officials to explain what happened. The officials informed the court that when the case was called, Metuh was making his way to the dock when they all heard a loud noise and noticed the defendant on the floor.

The trial judge continued with the trial even though Metuh was still on the floor.

However, Metuh’s counsel, Emeka Etiaba in disapproval withdrew from the trial. He said he cannot go ahead with the trial when his client is lying on the floor.

He noted that his client is obviously ill and has been confirmed by the medical personnel of the court.

Justice Abang, however, insisted that Metuh’s counsel call his eleventh witness in the trial. The witness then came into the dock. He also overruled the application by Metuh’s Counsel. He said this an attempt to delay the matter.

Metuh is standing trial for alleged money laundering of N400million being part of the funds linked with former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

Metuh being attended to by medical officers in court on Monday, May 21, 2018.

 

His trial earlier witnessed a dramatic turn on Monday, February 5, 2018 when he appeared at the Federal High Court in Abuja on a stretcher, days after the trial judge ordered him to show up or face the risk of forfeiting his bail.

The former PDP spokesman was, however, wheeled to the court on Monday following the threat by Justice Okon Abang to revoke his bail if he fails to appear in court.

His lawyer Emeka Etiaba had informed the court in January that his client was on admission at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital for an undisclosed ailment.

Metuh on Wednesday, March 14 also approached a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, to grant him permission to travel abroad for medical treatment.

This permission was however subsequently dismissed by the court.

Metuh Cries In Court As Doctor Explains His Health Condition

Metuh Challenges Court To Examine His Health Status
File photo of the former national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Olisa Metuh

 

The former national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Olisa Metuh was in tears on Monday as his doctor explained to the judge his health condition.

This was during his resumed trial in an Abuja High Court for the alleged diversion of N400 million received from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

The doctor told the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, why Metuh needs to be flown abroad for treatment.

READ ALSO: Olisa Metuh Collapses In Court

After listening to the doctor, Justice Abang said the court would seek the opinion of the Chief Registrar of the court on the recommendations of the doctor.

The judge, however, rebuked Metuh’s counsel, Emeka Etiaba, for his ‘rudeness’ to the court.

According to him, Etiaba’s refusal to answer some questions asked by the court is compounding issues before the court and is rude.

Etiaba had earlier expressed disapproval after the Justice Abang overruled his application for withdrawal of the case.

This was after Metuh collapsed in court trying to make his way to the dock.

Etiaba said he could not go ahead with the trial with his client lying on the floor.

He added that his client is obviously ill and has been confirmed by the medical personnel of the court.

The trial judge, however, continued with the trial even though Metuh was still on the floor. He insisted that Metuh’s counsel call his eleventh witness in the trial and also overruled the application by Metuh’s Counsel.

READ ALSO: If We Obey God, Our Nation Will Change – Osinbajo

According to the trial judge, Etiaba’s application for withdrawal of the case is an attempt to delay the matter.

The case was then adjourned to May 22 for the continuation of trial.

Metuh Challenges Court To Examine His Health Status

Metuh Challenges Court To Examine His Health Status
Mr Olisa Metuh

 

A former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Olisa Metuh, has challenged a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to raise a medical panel to examine his true state of health.

Mr Metuh said this on Friday during an interview with reporters in Abuja, shortly after Justice Okon Abang set aside five days – May 21 to 25 – for the continuation of his trial for alleged corruption.

He is being arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and standing trial for alleged money laundering being part of the funds linked to former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

The former PDP spokesperson, who called his eleventh defence witness at the resumed hearing, insisted that although his health is in serious jeopardy, he was more than prepared to prove his innocence.

“The court missed a wonderful opportunity to establish the state of my health. My lawyers, on three different occasions, moved applications for the prosecutions (the EFCC) to bring their medical personnel to examine the state of my health because issues to do with MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), scan, and X-rays are scientific; they are not empirical,” he said.

Metuh explained further that court could have set up a medical team, noting that to have findings without medical records was not the best practice.

He disclosed that he had been to three different Federal Teaching Hospitals in the course of his ill health, insisting that he has never done anything to perjure in court or to give the court false impression.

The defendant, who claimed there was a ruling where his counsel was directed not produce any medical records in court, asked the court to set up a medical panel to ascertain his true state of health to let Nigerians know whether he misled the court.

He, however, maintained that the money he was being accused of misappropriating was judiciously expended in the course of his assignment as the National Publicity Secretary of the party.

At the last trial on Thursday, Justice Abang had stated his reservations while delivering a ruling on an application filed by Metuh, seeking the release of his passport to enable him to travel abroad to treat a spinal cord ailment.

The trial judge questioned why the defendant 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 former PDP spokesman to present the court as inhuman, by filing the same application before the trial court a third time, rather than going on appeal.

I Didn’t Collect Money From Office Of NSA – Metuh   

FILE PHOTO

A former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Olisa Metuh, has denied collecting money from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki.

Metuh, who is standing trial for allegedly diverting N400 million from the former National Security Adviser, made this denial on Sunday, during an interview on Channels Television Programme, Politics Today.

He said during the interview that he has never been to the office of the NSA and has no relationship with him.

“I did not collect any money from the National Security Adviser’s office. I have never been to the former National Security Adviser’s office.

“I had no relationship with the former National Security Adviser, I had a relationship with my President who was the leader of my party,” he said.

 

 

Metuh, during the interview, pointed accusing fingers at the Federal Government. He claimed that the APC-led government is witch-hunting its opponents especially members of the PDP and not truly fighting corruption.

PDP Accuses Presidency Of Conspiracy, Intrusion In Metuh's Case
A file photo of Mr Olisa Metuh’s appearance in court on February 5, 2018

“This persecution is more than that. They witch-hunt. It is not a fight against corruption. It is a fight against political opponents.

“How can you call someone a looter when he is still in court. How can you say someone stole when there is no evidence about it? When you are saying that the money paid into his account is an unlawful activity. You haven’t proven it. You have not established anything. Maybe because you think you can manipulate the judiciary,” he said.

The former PDP spokesperson also faulted the list of alleged looters released by the Federal Government. He claimed that the Federal Government is manipulating the judiciary and lamented that “this is not the democracy that our founding fathers established.”

Metuh also absolved the PDP of alleged corrupt activities or funds mismanagement, challenging the Federal Government to prosecute any PDP member found guilty of corruption allegation.

“Is PDP an individual, if there are PDP members that have looted, please charge them to court, even if they have gone to the APC. Do not say the PDP has looted because the PDP is not an individual.

“PDP as a party ensures the principles of democracy. We allowed people their fundamental human right,” he said.

The Federal Government in its list of alleged looters released on Friday named Metuh as one of those who have allegedly looted the nation’s treasury. In reaction to this, Metuh said the APC-led Federal Government has resorted to all kinds of tactics to dehumanise and intimidate him.

Metuh, in his ongoing trial for allegedly diverting N400 million from the former NSA has filed an application seeking to travel to London, United Kingdom to get treatment for a malignant spinal cord disease.

The Supreme court which is sitting in Abuja, however, adjourned ruling on Metuh’s application for permission to travel to April 19, 2018.

List Of Alleged Looters: Metuh Accuses FG Of Intimidation

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

 

A former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Olisa Metuh, has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government of intimidating him.

He said this in a statement on Saturday, one day after the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, release a list of some Nigerians who allegedly looted the nation’s treasury.

READ ALSO: FG Releases Names Of Alleged Looters

According to the list, the former PDP spokesman is on trial for allegedly receiving N1.4bn from the office of former National Security Adviser (NSA).

Metuh, in his response, said, “The APC led Federal Government resorted to all kinds of dirty tactics to dehumanise and intimidate me.

“They have done everything humanly possible to ensure complete persecution, starting from bringing me to court in handcuffs (and parading the capture of Nigeria’s most wanted) to media trials and constant interference with my case.”

He noted further that by the publication, the Federal Government breached the constitution by “seeking to burden” him with two criminal trials on the same charge – one before Justice Okon Abang and the other before the media.

The former PDP spokesman who is also a lawyer said since his arrest on January 5, 2016 and subsequent arraignment, he has refrained from publicly discussing the issue because it was wrong to discuss a matter that is sub judice.

He stated, however, that he has decided to avail the public of the “true state” of the case against me in order to defend his name and integrity.

Narrating how it began, Metuh said, “The charge against me is that I received the sum of N400 million from the Office of the National Security Adviser to carry out duties assigned to me as the then National Publicity Secretary of the PDP by then President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The major crux of the prosecution argument is that I ought to have known that the money was a part of an alleged and yet to be proven unlawful activity of Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), former NSA to President Goodluck Jonathan.

“The charge was brought regardless of the fact that neither President Jonathan who gave me the assignment and directed the release of the funds nor Colonel Dasuki (rtd), who effected the release of the funds have ever been interrogated nor even interviewed in this regard.  As a matter of fact, officers of the office of the National Security Adviser have testified in court that the payment made to me followed all due process usually observed in the establishment.”

The lawyer claimed that while the alleged illegality of the funds has neither been established in law nor in fact, he never held a government office or position and could not have had any access to government funds.

He also accused the government of plot to taint the PDP before the elections, alleging that that was why he was not allowed to attend to his deteriorating health despite several expert medical opinions on the matter.

“By going to the media to name me a looter (without cross-checking the definition and dictionary meaning of the word), the Federal Government has not only given a body language but has issued a direct intimidation and threat to the judiciary to get a compulsory conviction,” Metuh claimed.

He further accused the government of interfering and seeking to control matters within the purview of the legislature and the judiciary.

The former PDP spokesman, however, said he has asked his lawyers to review the implications of the list published by the government and take appropriate steps for redress.

PDP Accuses APC Of Interfering With Metuh’s Trial

PDP Accuses APC Of Interfering With Metuh’s trail
File photo: Olisa Metuh

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of interfering with the trial of its former National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh.

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

READ ALSO: Court Adjourns Ruling On Metuh’s Application For Permission To Travel

In a statement on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately call the APC and some of its members to order.

It also urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, to protect the institution of the judiciary and the courts from interferences in the conduct of cases involving its members and particularly, its former spokesman.

The party alleged that the connection between the timing of happenings in the court case and the intrusions of the APC in the entire matter has assumed a worrisome dimension.

Metuh Brought To Court On A Stretcher

It added that its members were concerned about Metuh’s fate before the trial judge, claiming the judge had delivered judgments against the PDP in the past, which were eventually upturned after much damage had been done.

“The PDP finds it curious that interferences are manifesting in Metuh’s case even after the court had adjourned indefinitely on his application to be allowed to travel to the UK for surgery. This court had twice rejected Chief Metuh’s applications for medical leave at the initial stage of his ailment, but the condition of the former PDP spokesman has now degenerated.

“It is on record that people facing similar charges at the Federal High Court are granted leave to travel for ordinary medical check-ups and other sundry reasons, but Metuh has had his application for medical treatment deferred indefinitely and had to be brought to court for trial even on a hospital stretcher.

“The fact remains that if the court cannot grant Chief Metuh leave for medical treatment, more so, with the manifest interference of the APC, then there is absolutely no guarantee that he can get justice from the same court at the end of the day and we want the CJN to take copious note of this,” the PDP statement read in part.

The party decried that no other application for medical leave was subjected to “a greater burden of proof” than the case of Metuh, accusing the APC of “obvious persecution”.

It, therefore, urged the Chief Justice to rise in defence of the judiciary and ensure a fair trial of its former spokesperson.

The PDP also asked the CJN to take a closer look at the conduct of Metuh’s case and take appropriate action to ensure that justice is seen to have been done at the end of the day.

Court Adjourns Ruling On Metuh’s Application For Permission To Travel

Metuh
File photo: Olisa Metuh

The Supreme Court on Friday adjourned the hearing of Olisa Metuh’s application seeking permission to travel abroad for urgent medical treatment.

The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, noted that even though the application was filed as urgent, the cases cited by the parties have just been forwarded to him.

The judge said he will need time to study the cases.

Justice Abang also noted that he already has pending cases in the Asana Division of the Federal High Court adding that he is domiciled in Asana Division of the Federal High Court for the next one months.

He said due to these reasons, he is inclined to adjourn the trial to April 19, 2018.

Subject to the availability of judicial time, he said he will deliver ruling on the application.

READ ALSO: Metuh Seeks Court’s Permission For Treatment Abroad

Metuh had on Wednesday, March 14 filed an application seeking the relate of his passport to enable him to travel to London, United Kingdom to get treatment for a malignant spinal cord disease.

In the application, he asked the court to grant him permission to urgently travel abroad.

Metuh who is the former spokesperson, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is standing trial for allegedly diverting N400 million from the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

Alleged Fraud: Supreme Court Rejects Metuh’s Appeal

Metuh
File photo: Olisa Metuh

The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that a former spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, should face trial for alleged fraud thereby rejecting his appeal.

Metuh is standing trial for allegedly diverting N400 million from the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

The trial judge, Okon Abang, had in March 2016 ruled that Mr Metuh and his company, Destra Investment, had a case to answer in the seven-count charge of fraud brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The ruling was upheld by the Court of Appeal in May 2016, after which Metuh took the case to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court in its ruling on Friday, February 9 gave the same reasons given by the Court of Appeal for refusing Mr Metuh’s request.

The Court of Appeal had said Metuh and his company failed to first obtain the leave of either the trial court or the appellate court before filing a notice of appeal as required by the Constitution.

The Appeal Court then held that the appellants, having failed in that regard, their appeals were incompetent and the court lacked jurisdiction to hear them.

Metuh faced a similar setback on Friday as the Justice Dattijo Mohammed-led five-man panel of the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal on Friday.

The apex court held that as much as the Court of Appeal lacked the jurisdiction to hear the appeals, the Supreme Court too could not entertain the appeal arising from the incompetent appeals before the court below.