Saturday, April 9, 2016 4:12 pm
For Olisa Metuh, the National Publicity Secretary of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, there is no more hiding place. On Monday, he is expected to open his defence to the seven count charge of money laundering levelled against him by the EFCC
By Ayorinde Oluokun/Abuja
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Friday after a dramatic seven hour legal fireworks asked Olisa Metuh,the National Publicity Secretary of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to open his defence.
It was the logical decision after Metuh’s filibustering applications aimed at stopping the trial were dismissed.
Metuh is facing a seven count charge of criminal breach of trust, corruption, money laundering involving $2m cash transaction and for allegedly receiving N400million from the Office of the National Security Adviser on Friday.Prosecuting is the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
In count one of the seven-count charge, Metuh was accused of taking ‘possession of N400million paid into the account of Destra Investment Limited with Diamond Bank Plc Account No 0040437573 from the account of the ONSA with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) without contract award when he reasonably ought to have known that the said fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity.
The offence, according to the EFCC is contrary to Section 15(2),(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 20111 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.
The prosecution had alleged that the N400 million was part of $2.1 budgeted for procurement of arms to fight Boko Haram in the ONSA, but which was diverted to fund the PDP 2015 presidential campaign of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Metuh was first arraigned in court over the charges on 15, January 2016 and the EFCC called eight witnesses to prove their allegations against him before closing its case on 18 February.
The witnesses were able to graphically demonstrate how the N400 million were transferred into accounts of Metuh and how part of the funds were used to fund the 2015 campaign activities of PDP and how he used part of the funds to buy property in Lagos with all the necessary documents tendered to back up the allegations.
To prove the Money Laundering charge, EFCC called operators of Bureau De Change who helped the PDP spokesperson converted the $2million into naira.
The PDP spokesperson was asked to open his defence, but his lawyers made no-case submission.
Metuh urged the court to discharge and acquit him on the grounds that the EFCC had made no case against him with the eight prosecution witnesses called and all the documents tendered.
In the no case submission, Onyechi Ikpeazu, leading five Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN argued that the prosecution could never have been able to make any case against him without the EFCC calling the former President as a witness in view of the testimony by one of the witnesses, Yomi Badejo Okusanya, the Managing a Director of CMC Connect that he made presentation on a media campaign proposal to Jonathan and for which money was paid from the N400m.
He argued that the former President was a vital witness that ought to be called by the prosecution. In countering the argument, EFCC lawyer, Sylvester Tahir said the defence cannot pick and choose witnesses for the prosecution as what the law requires the prosecution to do is to call material witness(es) in proof of its case.”
Tahir who noted that prima facie case of money laundering has been established against the accused argued that the defence must explains the reasons why Metuh received the sum of N400m from the ONSA