…as Justice Abang declines to suspend trial
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – Erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, who is facing trial over allegation that he received N400million prior to the 2015 general election, on Monday, insisted on calling the detained former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, retd, to testify on his behalf.
Metuh, via a letter he wrote through his team of lawyers, asked the Department of State Service, DSS, to allow Dasuki who is currently in its custody, to appear before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Tuesday as his witness.
The letter with Ref. No. EESE & C/01/19/06/17, dated June 19, 2017, followed refusal of trial Justice Okon Abang to stay further proceeding in the matter.
In two separate rulings, Justice Abang directed Metuh to continue his defence to the seven-count criminal charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him and his firm, Destra Investment Limited.
The trial Judge who anchored his decision on a ruling the Supreme Court delivered on June 9, further rejected Metuh’s request for the court to release his international passport to enable him to travel to the United Kingdom for a medical surgery.
Justice Abang noted that the apex court had in the said ruling, validated the provision of section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, which prohibits trial courts from staying proceeding in cases involving financial crimes.
Metuh’s trial was stalled since December 16, 2016, owing to his interlocutory application for Justice Abang to temporarily hands-off his case to await the apex court’s decision.
At the resumed sitting on Monday, Justice Abang stressed that the Supreme Court ruling had cleared the coast for Metuh’s trial to resume in earnest.
The defendant who has already called six witnesses that testified on his behalf before the high court, is seeking to call the former NSA, Dasuki, as his seventh witness.
EFCC had in the charge, alleged that the defendants received N400million from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, under Dasuki, without executing any contract.
It said the fund was electronically wired from an account ONSA operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to Metuh, via account no. 0040437573, which his firm operated with Diamond Bank Plc.
However, Metuh insisted that the money he got was on the order of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
The former PDP spokesman, through witnesses he produced before the court, admitted that fund was allocated to his office for media campaigns.
Justice Abang earlier rejected an application for a subpoena to be issued on Dasuki to appear before the court as a defence witness in the matter.
Metuh maintained that Dasuki was a key element in the charge against him, saying his appearance was critical for the case of the defendants.
Rather than grant the application, Justice Abang asked Metuh to forward his request to the DSS which has Dasuki in its custody.
Consequently, Metuh, in his letter to the DSS, a copy of which was sighted by Vanguard on Monday, sought appearance of Dasuki in court on Tuesday.
The letter entitled ‘Re: Further Notice to Produce Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) Before the Federal High Court Coram; Hon Justice Okon Abang on June 20, 2017’, was signed by Metuh’s lawyer, Mr. Emeka Etiaba, SAN, and forwarded to the Director General of the DSS, Mr. Lawal Daura.
It read: “May we by this letter inform you Sir, that the trial between the Federal Republic of Nigeria Vs Chief Olisa Metuh & Anor in Charge No. FHC/Abj/CR/2016, continues tomorrow 20/6/2017 at 9am prompt.
“Pursuant to the earlier letter written with respect to the production of the former NSA, Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) in court to testify on behalf of Chief Olisa Metuh, we inform you that his presence shall be needed tomorrow before the Federal High Court. We thank you for your cooperation”.
Metuh equally copied the letter to the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court.Read Full Story