Metuh’s Trial: Court rejects Jonathan’s N1bn request; Dasuki storms court, pleads memory loss
…ex-NSA insists he couldn’t recall releasing N400m to Metuh
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, failed to persuade the Federal High Court in Abuja to set-aside the subpoena issued to compel him to testify as a witness in the ongoing trial of erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh.
The high court, in a ruling delivered by trial Justice Okon Abang, struck out the motion as lacking in merit.
The Judge equally refused Jonathan’s alternative request for Metuh to be ordered to deposit with the court, the sum of N1billion in line with provisions of Section 241(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, before he would mount the witness box.
Jonathan had in a motion his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, moved before the court yesterday, maintained that the N1bn would cover travelling expenses for himself and his security personnel from his home town, Otuoke in Bayelsa State to Abuja, and also for time that he might spend appearing before the court as President of Nigeria between 2010 to 2015.
The ex-President said he got to know about the summon the court issued against him on October 23, through newspaper publications.
Moreso, Jonathan argued that the subpoena ad testifiandum Justice Abang issued against him was vague, applied for and obtained on frivolous ground and in bad faith, saying it was meant to embarrass him as a person.
Neverthless, the ex-President said he was not doubtful of the fact that there was a contractual agreement between Metuh and the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, retd.
According to his lawyer, “The linchpin of this application is not that the former President is throwing doubts on transactions involving the defendants and Dasuki, but that he was not physically present when the transactions were going on, because he had many appointees.
“My lord, because of this, we are saying that he will not be a good witness to state what actually happened regarding the transactions.
“He can never be able to know details of transactions all his aides carried out within his over four years tenure in office. He is not saying that the transactions are fake or incorrect or fictitious, no! He is only saying that he does not know the details.
“Whatever evidence he will be giving based on the subpoena will amount to hearsay evidence”.
Meanwhile, in his five-paragraphed counter- affidavit, Metuh, through his lawyer, Mr. Emeka Etiaba, SAN, said he does not have N1bn to give Jonathan who he said had also admitted that he (Metuh) served the nation well.
Etiaba drew attention of the court to the fact that the bailiff earlier deposed an affidavit that he had yet to serve the subpoena on Jonathan.
“This application is therefore not only speculative, but premature and deserves to be struck out.
“With respect to demand for deposition of N1bn, the 1st defendant in his affidavit averred that he does not have such amount.
“We believe that such demand is punitive and meant to frustate the 1st defendant’s attempt at obtaining an evidence that will assist him in the defence of the charge against him before this court.
On its part, the EFCC, through its lawyer, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, told the court that it would remain indifferent to Jonathan’s application.
In his bench ruling, Justice Abang said he could not validly exercise jurisdiction to grant any of the former President’s prayers since the bailiff of the court had yet to serve him with a copy of the subpoena.
“Dr. Jonathan, with greatest respect to him, cannot rely on Newspaper publications or news item from electronic media to come to conclusion that the subpoena is vague. It is a heresay evidence which is not relevant before this court.
*** Dasuki Appears in Court, Says He’s Incapacitated to Give Evidence in Metuh’s Case
The former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), has appeared before a Federal High Court in Abuja in line with the subpoena issued on him by the court to give evidence in the trial of former National Publicity Secretary of the People Democratic Party (PDP), Mr .Olisah Metuh, over N400 million corruption charges.
Dasuki who was looking cool, calm and unruffled, stormed the court in compliance with the subpoena issued on him by Justice Okon Abang at the instance of Metuh.
However, the former NSA gave a brief evidence in court and later told the court that he was incapacitated to give accurate account of what transferred in the office of the NSA in 2014 because he had been clamped into detention for over two years now in spite of the bails granted him by three different High Courts and ECOWAS Court of Justice which ordered government to immediately release him from detention.
After he had listened to all the parties, Justice Abang adjourned ruling on the issue till November 3.
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