Alleged N400m Fraud: Court fixes date to decide Olisa Metuh’s fate

Olisa Metuh
Olisa Metuh

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday fixed February 25, 2020, to deliver judgement in the N400 million fraud charge against a former spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh.

Justice Okon Abang on Tuesday fixed the date for judgement after taking arguments from lawyers in the matter which lasted for about four years.

Mr Metuh is being prosecuted by the EFCC, alongside his company, Destra Investment, on a seven-count charge of diversion of the money received when Sambo Dasuki was the National Security Adviser.

The former PDP spokesperson was also accused of transacting with the sum of $2 million without going through a financial institution, in violation of a provision of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were arraigned before the court in January 2016.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported, in April, how Mr Metuh told the court that the N400 million he is accused of collecting from the federal government was spent on “special national assignment.”

Lawyers argument

During the court session on Tuesday, Mr Metuh’s lawyer, Abel Ozioko, argued that the said money was transferred to Mr Metuh to provide services and that it was not a contract.

Mr Ozioko added that the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) has the power to pay money for such services.

Mr Metuh’s lawyer further argued that one of the prosecution witnesses admitted that apart from payment for contract by ONSA, ONSA is also involved in the payment for other services

Mr Ozioko added that the witness did not say the N400 million was for a contract, “he said it was for security services,” he argued.

He finally said there is no evidence contradicting services rendered as shown before the court and urged the court to discharge and acquit the accused.

On his part, the lawyer to the second defendant (Metuh’s company) Tochukwu Onwugbufor, in his argument told the court that the prosecution had failed to prove the alleged offences.

Mr Onwugbufor said the prosecution is deemed to have admitted all the points and issues raised therein and urged the court to hold that the origin of the money is legitimate and if so, the entire charge for money laundering failed.

The senior counsel said the prosecution had failed to prove that the case is a predicate offence.

“Predicate offence is an offence which leads to money laundering,” he explained.

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Mr Onwugbufor added that “if those offences do not exist, there would be no money laundering.”

He said the prosecution instead of relying on the law in Nigeria, “relied on UK law which has not crossed the Atlantic ocean, which has not reached the Supreme Court or even before your lordship.”

“If they prove the fact that tends to establish those offences, the court would, therefore, presume that those offence has been proved, the prosecution is now trying to be the judge and the court and I urge you, the court, to resist such,” Mr Onwugbufor said.

Mr Onwugbufor urged the court also to discharge and acquit the defendant.

Reacting to the two lawyers, the prosecution counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, maintained that they had proved all the offences beyond a reasonable doubt.

Mr Tahir asked the court to pass a guilty verdict on the defendants.

In a short ruling, Justice Abang fixed February 25, next year to give a verdict.


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