The Former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh on Thursday told the Federal High Court in Abuja that the N400m project fund in which he is standing trial was paid to him by former President Goodluck Jonathan and not the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
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 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 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.
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 the 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 Col. Sambo Dasuki. Dasuki represents one of the finest and most brilliant military officers ever produced in the Nigerian military. He has had a distinguished career, served a lot of government and finally served as National Security Adviser for this country, under former president Jonathan.
“Up till May 29, 2015, no individual or group had ever questioned Dasiki’s integrity not to talk of been charged or arrested for any unlawful act. I am not aware of any criminal charge against Dasuki or any unlawful act until we lost government in 2015.
“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.
“The N400m was paid into my account by the then president and I did not conceal or disguise the money and it was not transfer out of jurisdiction”, he said.
Metuh insisted that the money was paid him for specific purposes and disbursed to those who executed the purposes as directed by the then president, adding that he later submitted details of the disbursement to the president.
He urged the court to take a look into the list of disbursement carried out in cash and in checks. Metuh also dismissed the insinuation that the N4oom 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 fund raising.
According to him the N400m was not for PDP, because there is no need to take a cup of water to the ocean.
Meanwhile further cross examination has been adjourned to June 24, 25 and 26.
COURT ADJOURNS KASHAMU’S FRESH EXTRADITION SUIT TO JUNE 27
From Kayode Lawal, Abuja
A fresh suit instituted by Senator Buruji Kashamu against the federal government seeking to stop his extradition to the United States of America for trial in an alleged hard drug trafficking in America has been adjourned to June 27, 2019, by a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Justice Okon Abang who was billed to adjudicate on the matter fixed June 27th as fresh hearing date following the absence of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) or his legal representation in court.
The suit is one of the three new cases instituted by the senator who is praying for an order of the court to prohibit the federal government from giving effect to the extradition request of the American government on him.
When the matter came up on Thursday, counsel to Kashamu, Mr. John Olusola Odubela SAN, informed the judge that the matter which bothers on fundamental human right of the senator was for hearing and that he was surprised that the AGF was not in Court and was not represented by a lawyer.
However counsel to the National Drug law Enforcement Agency, Mr. Pius Gande told the court that the case was transferred from justice Ahmed Mohammed to the new court and that the AGF was not notified of the transfer and was not issued with hearing notice.
Gande argued that the issue of hearing notice is fundamental and that the court should endeavour to indulge the AGF to be served with hearing notice to enable his presence or legal representation in court.
He specifically said that the principle of fair hearing would be breached if the court should go ahead in hearing the matter in the absence of the AGF who is the first respondent in the suit.
The NDLEA lawyer submitted that the bottom line of the absence of the AGF was that he was not aware that the matter had been slated for hearing yesterday.
On the part of the NDLEA, Gande submitted that he became aware of the transfer of the case to Justice Abang during one of his visits to the court, adding that his presence was out of respect for the court and not that he was issues with hearing notice as required by law.
“The issue of hearing notice is fundamental and must not be toyed with. We want this matter to expeditiously heard on its merit so that we can arrive at a just conclusion and as it is now, it is in the best interest of justice that the AGF be allowed to come in through issuance of hearing notice and if he fails, the matter can go on in his absence.
In his ruling Justice Abang who claimed to have d adjourned the case 3 times in his chamber due to volume of work in his court cross checked the record of proceeding and discovered that the AGF, was not notified of the transfer of the case to him and hearing notice not issued to his office.
The Judge agreed with Gande that hearing notice is a fundamental issue as it bothers on fair hearing and subsequently adjourned the matter till June 27th for hearing.
The judge further said that no court of law will proceed with any matter until all the parties have being duly served with hearing notice adding that any court that proceeds without hearing notice to parties is embarking on a nullity
”It is clear that the AGF is not served with the hearing notice and this condition cannot be waived by any party because its absence will render proceeding a nullity
As for me I don’t want to work in vain, AGF must be served with hearing notice for this matter to proceed as required by law and there must be a proof of service”.
Although counsel to Kashamu had wanted the matter to proceed in the absence of the AGF, but the court rejected the move and instead opted for an adjournment.
Kashamu had sued the AGF and the NDLEA for the enforcement of his fundamental rights, praying the court to stop the two respondents from extraditing him to America for a hard drug offence trial.