The trial of the former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, continued yesterday with his personal narration of how the sum of N400 million given to him from the Office of the former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki was shared for what he called ‘a special national assignment given to him by former President Goodluck Jonathan in the run-up to the 2015 Presidential election.
Metuh appeared in a Federal High Court, Abuja, presided over by Justice Okon Abang to give his account while being cross-examined by the prosecution counsel of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which is prosecuting him and his company, Destra Investment Limited, for alleged money laundering and diversion of public fund.
He did not explain what the ‘critical national assignment’ was and where it was carried out.
The commission claimed that Metuh knew that the money he got from the detained Col. Sambo Dasuki was for the acquisition of vital tools to combat insurgency in the North-East of Nigeria and should, therefore, account for the cash.
When he appeared for cross-examination by the prosecution counsel as the case nears conclusion, Metuh averred that the money he got for the critical national assignment did not come directly from former President Goodluck Jonathan, whom he had sought to appear as his main witness, but that the cash payment was ordered by the former leader.
Upon being shown the statement of his account which had N6.6 million before an inflow of N400 million into it on November 24, 2014, he narrated to the court how he disbursed the money in what he said was a ‘national assignment’.
He said there was an outflow of N7.5 million from the amount through a cheque to a company, CNC Connect on December 2, 2014, another payment of N21.7 million to Chief Anenih and N50 million to Kanayo/Olisah Metuh which is a joint account on December 4, 2014. On that same date, he narrated that there was another outflow of N31.5 million to Richard Ehidioha.
He also told the court of two separate payments of N200 million and N300 million to Daniel Ford International also on December 4, 2014. Other subsequent expenditures he said were: payments to CNC Connect in the sum of N70 million on December 15, 2014; N25 million to Abba Dabo on December 16, 2014, and N5 million to Ambassador Kema Chikwe.
He told the court that a final report he submitted to the then president had all the expenditures of the N400 million captured in receipts and signatures for all payments in cash and through several accounts for the special assignment. He said he had about 19 accounts of which more than five are with a new generation bank.
Metuh also told the court that he made an investment of $2 million in ARM, through one of its staff, Miss Nneka Ararume. When asked if the equivalent of the $2 million was paid in Naira into Dextra’s account which was to the tune N366 million at that time, he said: “We led evidence to show that the $2 million was paid by me to ARM and the prosecution had led evidence to show that Nneka Ararume paid monies to bureau de change which now transferred the monies into my account.”
He said he did not have any dealings with the bureau de change, recalling that Miss Ararume told the court that she got his account details from his record with ARM and gave it to the bureau de change.
When asked if the non-payment of $2 million into his account was to conceal the origin of the money, Metuh said the non-payment of the sum into his account was the failure of his account officer to execute a lawful and legal directive.
Justice Abang adjourned the matter to September 30, 2019, for the continuation of trial.