Breaking: Metuh Wants Justice Abang to Withdraw from Handling His Trial

The National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, has written a petition, asking Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court, Abuja, to withdraw from handling his trial.
Through his lawyers, Metuh is asking the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, to re-assign the case to another Judge.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited, on seven counts of money laundering and fraudulent receipt of N400m meant for procurement of arms from from the Office of the NSA on November 22, 2014, and used the funds for the PDP’s campaign activities.
The prosecution alleged that the N400m from which Metuh was said to have given about N21m to a former Chairman, Board of Trustee of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, was “part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity” of the immediate past NSA, Col. SaDasuki (retd).
After the prosecution closed its case with eight witnesses, the defendants through their lawyers, filed a no-case submission, asking the court to discharge and acquit them on the grounds that the prosecution failed to make any prima facie case against them.
But the Judge ruled against the defendants last Wednesday, holding that the prosecution’s case had raised so many questions, which the defendants needed “to urgently answer”.
“I have no doubt in my mind that the defendants have explanations to make regarding counts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7,” the judge ruled.
Justice Abang held that the evidence given by the prosecution’s third and seventh witnesses as well as Exhibits D1 and E6(1) to (4) linked Metuh and his company to the alleged crime.
He added, “It is only the first defendant (Metuh) that can answer the questions. The first defendant admitted in his statement that the the second defendant (Destra) received N400m on November 24, 2014.
“Did the first‎ defendant inquire from the bank the source of this money? If he did, what did he do?
“If he did not ask from the bank why did he not report to the police or even the EFCC to investigate it. If he did not why did he disburse the fund to the 5th and 7th prosecution witnesses? Did he also disburse part of the money to Chief Anenih as contained in count seven.
“If he answer this questions it will be clear if the defendants knew or reasonably ought to have know that the fund represented proceeds of corrupt and criminal breach of trust by Col. Sambo Dasuki, while being the National Security Adviser.
Curiously, however, when the came up Thursday for Metuh to open his defence, Justice Abang notified the Court that a petition has been written against him by the defence lawyers.
Justice Abang on Thursday, after entertaining submissions on the application for adjournment and midway into the writing of his ruling, Justice Abang, while reading from his record, asked the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, to respond to the petition written against him by another lawyer in the defence team.
He said, “Learned counsel for the prosecution and learned counsel for the defence, I want to ask you a question and I want you to respond if you are aware or not.
“Are you aware that after the prosecution had called eight witness cross-examined and re-examined and ruling has been delivered on the no-case submission by the defendants, dismissing the no-case submission, one of the counsel, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), wrote a petition to the Honourable Chief Judge of this Court asking for the transfer of this case, principally on the reasons that the Court gave ruling on interlocutory ‎ruling that would prejudice the defence, and that the Court also refused to release the ruling and the records of the proceedings to them, and that the first accused person was my classmate in the law school?
“I didn’t know the first accussed was my classmate, it was he (Etiaba) that said so. Are you aware of the petition?”
In response, EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, Tahir, said he was not aware of it.
He said, “Speaking for the prosecution my lord, I categorically state without any equivocation that until this hour and minute, I am not aware that such petition has been written by one of the counsel for the defendants.”

Author: News Editor

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