A former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, on Tuesday told an Abuja Division of the Federal High Court how he disbursed the N400 millions he received from the Goodluck Jonathan administration. Mr Metuh is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which says he should have known the money was illicitly sourced.
According to a statement sent by the commission’s spokesperson, Tony Orilade, Mr Metuh provided details of his expenditure during the continuation of his trial on Tuesday.
According to the agency, Mr Metuh said he rented an office through the late Tony Anenih which amounted to N25 million.
He said the late Mr Anenih, a former PDP leader, requested for a cash payment, and over N21 million was given via a cheque in his name and delivered to him.
”The office was fully furnished with state -of –the- art -computers, internet facility, two brand new generators, and staff had 24-hours access to the office daily,” he said.
The former PDP spokesperson also said N37 million was used for media engagements and ”meetings with editors in Nigeria.”
He added that funds were spent on analysts, content developers, core staff and support staff hired for the assignment, which amounted to N13 million, “while CNC Connects, one of the consulting firms, collected N7 million.”
According to the statement, Mr Metuh also said workshops and perception management campaign cost N23 million and that N10 million was spent on new media, while the production of materials, appearances on radio and other media services gulped N15 million.
He added that the cost of security, transportation, hotel allowances, amongst others amounted to N47 million.
He said that the total amount spent in the South-south zone was N55 million, while the northern zone, handled by the …late Tony Anenih amounted to N97 million with an additional N1.4 million used for procurement of public address systems.
Mr Metuh also told the court that the amount spent in the South-east region amounted to N40.4 million, while honorarium for different recruited persons cost N200,000 each adding that ”there were 57 of them.”
Mr Metuh accused the EFCC of engaging in media frenzy since his arrest in 2015. He added that he refused to provide a list which contains names of those he gave monies while executing the ”national assignment given to him by the former President Jonathan.”
“The whole issue borders on the investigation activities of EFCC. They requested that I provide the names of those I disbursed the monies to. I refused to discuss that with them because I knew it was going to be a subject of media frenzy,” he said.
According to him, the story attracted several malicious newspaper headlines, with headlines portraying him to be the one who embezzled the alleged N400 million security funds.
Also in the statement, Mr Metuh denied making any payment through one Nneka Ararume (staff of ARM Pension) to Kabiru Ibrahim, a Bureau De Change operator.
This was in response to the allegation that he gave $1 million to the BDC operator for investment. Both had testified as prosecution witnesses before Tuesday’s trial.
“I did not make any payment of $1 million to Kabiru Ibrahim through Nneka Ararume. Ararume has never acted as my agent in this transaction or any other; she is a staff of ARM,” he said.
Mr Metuh further informed the court that this was not his first time of ”executing a national assignment for a president.”
He said he was also able to execute a national assignment for former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Justice Abang subsequently adjourned the matter to June 10 and 11, for cross-examination of the witness.
Mr Metuh is facing trial for alleged diversion of the public funds received from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
He allegedly received N400 million from Mr Dasuki’s office in 2014 to run advocacy campaign for former President Jonathan ahead of the 2015 general elections.