Witness: Dikko’s 558m Naira Monthly Upkeep Not Documented

Dikko Umar, Air Force, CourtStar prosecution witness in the trial of former Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Dikko Umar, has told a Federal High Court in Abuja that the alleged sum of 558.200 million Naira he usually gives to the defendant as his monthly upkeep from the coffers of the Nigerian Air Force were not documented.

The witness, Air Commodore Salisu Yaushau, told the court in his evidence that the former Air Chief cumulatively collected over 13.3 billion Naira for two years as his monthly upkeep from the coffers of the Nigerian Air Force.

The witness, who was the Force’s Director of Finance and Accounts, also told the court how he assisted Mr Umar to acquire properties across the country worth over 2.3 billion Naira out of the monthly upkeep of 558,200 million Naira.

Under cross examination by the lead defence counsel, Hassan Liman, the witness said the payments made to the former Chief of Air Staff were not captured in the Cash and Votes Books of the Nigerian Air Force.

Air Commodore Yaushau, however, highlighted the fact that the former Air Chief was the final authority on all finances in the Air Force Headquarters and as the Director of Finance, he was answerable to the then Chief of Air Staff.

The defence counsel then tendered in evidence, a book titled “Manual of Financial Administration of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, 2012” which provides that receipt be issued on all payments made by any of the forces.

Although the prosecution counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, objected to the admissibility of the book on the grounds that it was certified as a public document by the relevant authorities, it was however, admitted in evidence by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba.

After listening to both parties, Justice Dimgba adjourned the trail on the case till March 28 and 29.

Air Marshal Umar was re-arraigned before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 7- count charge of Money Laundering Act, 2011, while he held sway as the Chief of Air Staff between September 2010 and 2012.

Alleged Corruption: Olisa Metuh Opens Defence

PDP's Olisa Metuh in Court -EFCCPDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh, has opened his defence at a Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Mr Metuh on Monday, called his first witness in defence of the case of corruption levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

At the resumed trial, Mr Ike Agbenna who worked as a media consultant to the PDP spokesman, said that the then leader of the party, former President Goodluck Jonathan and members of the party funded the Office of the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP.

This was contested by the prosecutor, who told the court that he has evidence of illegal financial transaction between the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) and Mr Metuh.

Having listened to the testimony of the first and only witness of the day, Justice Okon Abang adjourned the case till April 20 for cross examination and continuation of trial.

Following the judge’s ruling, counsels to the parties, Sylvanus Tahir, and Emeka Etiaba (SAN), restated their commitment to prove their case.

Abuse Of Court Process

In an earlier ruling, Justice Abang had dismissed an application filed by Mr Olisa Metuh seeking an end to the hearing of the suit against him in the court.

The spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asked the court to disqualify itself on grounds of bias by the presiding judge.

While he alleged that the presiding judge was a classmate of his and ill-disposed to deliver justice on the matter, Justice Abang refuted the claim and consequently dismissed his application as an abuse of court process.

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

Olisah Metuh Loses Bid To Disqualify Court, Others

MetuhA Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed an application filed by Mr Olisa Metuh seeking an end to the hearing of a suit against him in the court.          

Mr Metuh, who is the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had asked the court to disqualify itself from hearing a matter against him on grounds of bias by the presiding judge.

Abuse Of Court Process
He had alleged in his application that the presiding judge was a classmate of his, stressing that he knew him well and was therefore, ill-disposed to deliver justice on the matter.

In an earlier response to the allegation, Justice Okon Abang said that he did not know Mr Metuh and had not met him before now, a position that prompted the court to dismiss his application as an abuse of court process.

CourtGiving his ruling on the application on Friday, Justice Abang held that there were no substantial facts or evidence given by the PDP spokesman in support of the allegation upon which the court would disqualify itself.

The court heard another application by Mr Metuh and the second defendant in the matter, Dastra Investment Limited, to suspend proceedings at the Federal High Court, pending the decision of a similar case at the Court of Appeal.

It also considered an application asking the court to return the file of the case to the chief judge for re-assignment, and an application that the matter be adjourned to enable the second defendant change the counsel representing them.

This followed a disassociation from the previous counsel, who is currently representing the first defendant, Olisah Metuh.

metuhThe EFCC had earlier filed a seven-count charge of criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering against the PDP National Publicity Secretary, but he was granted bail by a Federal High Court.

Sequel to his release, the anti-graft agency arraigned Mr Metuh on a two-count charge for criminal destruction of evidence and property of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), but was granted bail by Justice Okon Abang who signed his release warrant.

Metuh Loses ‘No-Case Submission’ Against EFCC

MetuhThe National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Olisa Metuh, has lost his no-case submission filed before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

Ruling on the suit on Wednesday, Justice Okon Abang, said that the prosecuting counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, has been able to establish a ‘prima facie’ case against the defendant, as there were several questions he needed to answer.

While adjourning the trial to March 17, Justice Abang added that there was an urgent need for Mr Metuh to tell the court whether he gave $2 million to the first prosecution witness to source for Naira equivalent and the source of the fund.

Consequently, lawyer to Mr Metuh, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), said that the defence team would take a second look at the ruling while the prosecution said that the coast was now clear for the PDP spokesman to prove his innocence.

The National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is standing trial for alleged money laundering offences preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Olisa Metuh Released on Bail

metuhThe National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Olisa Metuh has been released on bail.

Mr Metuh walked out of Kuje Prisons on Thursday afternoon after meeting the bail conditions given to him by the court.

A Federal High Court had on Wednesday, varied the bail conditions given to Mr Olisa Metuh.

Justice Okon Abang, signed his release warrant, upon being satisfied with the verification of the details of the two sureties provided by the accused and the title documents of the property owned by the sureties.

The verification exercise was done by the Chief Registrar of the court with the involvement of the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, whom the judge directed must verify the residential addresses of the two sureties.

A court official confirmed to our correspondent that Metuh met the bail conditions and presented the necessary documents just before the close of work on Thursday.

Trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, changed his earlier order that the sureties must be property owners in the Maitama area of Abuja only to an order that the two sureties must be owners of properties in any area of the Federal Capital Territory.

He, however, retained the sum of bail which he put at 400 million Naira.

Justice Abang declined the request of the prosecution, who asked the court to expunge him as part of the verification exercise of the bail conditions on the ground that it is not in his place to make orders for the court.

Mr Metuh is accused of receiving the sum of N400 million from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, without a contract, contrary to the Money Laundering Act.

Mr Metuh, is also accused of converting the said money to funds for political activities of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Mr Metuh was arrested by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at his home on January 5.

Metuh Paid N70 Million Into My Relation’s Company Account – Witness

Olisa-Metuh-trialGoing by the speed with which the Federal High Court Abuja is prosecuting the trial of the spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, there is hope that the process may not take too long before it is concluded.

At the resumed trial on Thursday, a witness, Yomi Ogunsanya, said that the sum of 70 million Naira was paid into the account of his relation’s company for the management of the image of the PDP and its presidential candidate, Goodluck Jonathan ahead of the presidential elections.

Mr Ogunsanya, who is the fifth witness, told the court that their first job was appreciating the military in their role in the fight against the terrorist group, Boko Haram operating in the north eastern part of Nigeria through the placement of adverts in several national newspapers and television stations.

A sixth witness, Kabiru Ibrahim, also told the court that he received $1 million from a previous witness, Nneka Ararume, a staff of Assets Resource Management Company (ARM) and an investment officer to Mr Metuh, which he converted to Naira and paid into the account of Destra Investment Limited belonging to Mr Metuh.

He, however, told the court that he never sold Dollars to Mr Metuh at any point in time.

With a request for an adjournment by the prosecutor, Sylvanus Tahir, Justice Okon Abang adjourned further trial till February 4.

High Court Varies Metuh’s Bail Conditions

metuhA Federal High Court has varied the bail conditions given to the National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP), Olisa Metuh.

Trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, changed his earlier order that the sureties must be property owners in the Maitama area of Abuja only to an order that the two sureties must be owners of properties in any area of the Federal Capital Territory.

He, however, retained the sum of bail which he put at 400 million Naira.

Justice Abang declined the request of the prosecution, who asked the court to expunge him as part of the verification exercise of the bail conditions on the ground that it is not in his place to make orders for the court .

The judge said that the prosecutor is an officer of the court and he  is not to tamper with any order of the court .

He ruled that should the prosecutor refuse to comply  with the order of the court, he would be charged for contempt .

In his application, counsel to Metuh, Sylvanus Tahir, told the court that the bail conditions were too stringent .

According to him, his client has no friends or relatives with properties in Maitama area of the Federal Capital Territory, as such, the court should vary the conditions to allow for property owners in any other part of the FCT to stand as sureties for his client .

The Prosecuting Counsel, who did not oppose the application and whose oral application was discountenanced by the court on the grounds that he ought to have filed a written affidavit indicating his opposition, however, asked the court to also vary the aspect of the conditions, which orders him to be part of the verification process of the bail conditions .

Mr  Metuh is standing trial for corruption, money laundering and criminal breach of trust.

The opposition party’s spokesman had on Monday, January 25, requested for a variation of his bail conditions.

Court Remands Metuh In Kuje Prison

Olisa-MetuhA Federal High Court in Abuja has remanded the spokesman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, in prison following his ‘not guilty’ plea to a seven-count charge of corruption and money laundering.

Mr Metuh appeared in court on Friday, days after he was arrested by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for the charges.

According to the charges, the PDP spokesman transferred the sum of $1 million through his agent, Nneka Nicole Ararume, to one Sie Iyenome of Capital Field Investment, committing an offense contrary to Section One of the Money Laundering Act.

He is also accused of receiving the sum of 400 million Naira from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, without a contract contrary to the Money Laundering Act.

Mr Metuh, is also accused of converting the said money to funds for political activities of the People’s Democratic Party.

He pleaded not guilty to the accusations.

Attempts by his counsel, Ifedayo Fadipe, to make an oral application for bail was rejected by the counsel to the EFCC, Sylvanus Tahir, who insisted that such an application could not be made orally.

Having listen to the two parties Justice Obong Abang agreed with the EFCC that such an application could not be made orally.

He then ordered Mr Metuh and his counsel to file his bail application within the next six hours, while the EFCC is to respond 24 hours after service of the of the bail application.

Hearing in the bail application has been adjourned to January 19.

before Mr Metuh was arraigned, the anti-graft agency asked him to return the money to effect his release.

“Witch Hunt”

Days after Mr metuh was held in detention, the opposition party’s federal lawmakers gave the EFCC 48 hours to either release its spokesman or charge him for the crime he was accused of.

The PDP caucus in the House of Representatives, led by the Minority Leader of the House, Representative Leo Ogor, said Mr Metuh had not committed any treasonable offence and should not be detained indefinitely.

Threatening to give the issue an international dimension should he be kept in detention without bail, the caucus said “the continued incarceration of the party’s spokesperson violates the law and borders on witch hunt”.

Another issue raised by the PDP caucus was what the members in the House of Representatives termed preferential treatment given to a member of the ruling party, Mr Jafaru Isa, who was also arrested over the same diversion of funds but was released eight hours later.

In defence to claims of preferential  treatment, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Parry Ariase, argued that the APC member in question was released after he refunded part of the money he collected illegally from the office of national security adviser and that he still has a case to answer.