The National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, has insisted that he is being persecuted for his criticsm of the ruling party, rather than the alleged N400m fraud.
This as he lost in his bid to stop his trial Wednesday.
Justice Okon Abang of a Fedetal High Court, Abuja declined to hear a fresh objection brought by the new lawyer he engaged for his company, Destra Investment Limited, Tochukwu Onwugbufor (SAN).
A group of lawyers had jointly represented Metuh and his company since the commencement of the case late last year.
But mid-way into the trial and after the prosecution had closed its case, having called eight witnesses, Onwugbufor was introduced as the new lawyer to represent Destra Investment Limited.
Onwugbufor informed the court about the new objection he filed challenging the court’s jurisdiction to try two of the charges filed against his client.
He said since count one and two in the charge questioned the rationale behind the payment of the N400 million into the bank account of Destra Investment Limited without contract award, the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the charges, adding that they were not covered by Section 251(1) of the Constitution.
The prosecution lawyer, Sylvanus Tahir, objected to the hearing of the application. The Judge accepted the argument.
However, Metuh said that his trial was politically motivated.
Metuh, through a witness he produced before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Ike Abonyi, said his ordeal was a function of constructive criticisms he mounted on the All progressive Congress-led government, after PDP lost the 2015 presidential election. Abonyi, who is a media consultant to the PDP, told the court that Metuh pre-empted his arrest, detention and subsequent arraignment.
He said that the defendant who is answering to a seven-count charge, had expressed his fears during a press conference he held before he was summoned by the EFCC. The witness told the court that at a point, the defendant, owing to pressure from his family members, considered quitting his position as the the spokesman of the PDP.