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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Olisa Metuh gets N400m bail

The trial of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spokesman Olisa Metuh for alleged fraud and money laundering will begin on Monday at a Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice Okon Abang ruled yesterday.

But he admitted him to bail at N400million and two sureties with Abuja property.
Metuh, who was on January 15 remanded in Kuje prison in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) after his arraignment, is to remain in prison until he meets the bail conditions.
Justice Abang also directed that each of the sureties must sign a bond of N200 million.
The judge said the sureties must own houses in Maitama, a highbrow area in the FCT.
Justice Abang said officials of the court must verify the documents of the property submitted by the sureties.
He directed the prosecuting agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to confirm the title documents of the property pledged by the sureties and their addresses.
The judge, in granting the bail, noted that the offences for which the applicant was standing trial were bailable.
He said, under the nation’s criminal justice system, an accused is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
The judge was of the view that the prosecution’s allegation that Metuh tore his statement was not established.
Metuh is charged with breach of public trust, corrupt acquisition of public funds and money laundering.
The commission said, in the charge, that a former Chairman, Board of Trustees (BOT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Tony Anenih benefited from the N400million allegedly received by Metuh.
EFCC accused Metuh of receiving the N400m from “an unlawful activity” of the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA), Mohammed Sambo Dasuki.
The commission said its investigation also revealed that Metuh allegedly transferred $2million through one of his agents, Nneka Nicole Ararume, to Sie Iyenome and Kabiru Ibrahim of Capital Field Investment, an organisation it found not to be a financial institution.
The EFCC was silent on why Metuh allegedly gave Anenih N21,776,000 and for what purpose.
While moving the bail application, Metuh’s lawyer, Chris Uche (SAN) urged the court to admit his client to bail on the ground that the alleged offences were bailable.
He noted that under the Money Laundering Act, where Metuh was charged, the offences which attract a maximum of seven years are not severe as claimed by the prosecution.
Uche denied the prosecution’s argument that Metuh could interfere with investigation.
He said his client will not evade trial as he is a known personality. He urged the court to grant him bail on liberal terms or if possible, on self recognition.
Prosecution lawyer Sylvester Tahir objected to the bail request.
He argued that aside that Metuh could tamper with the course of justice, having allegedly torn his statement; he was yet to provide sufficient material to move the court to exercise its discretion in his favour.
Tahir urged the court to be guided by the additional conditions contained in Section 162(c) (d) & (f) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 before determining the application.
.Justice Abang has adjourned to January 25 for the commencement of trial.
The PDP however condemned the handcuffing of its spokesman when he was brought to court yesterday.
It described the action as “a deliberate plot to mortify, subjugate opposition spokesperson.”
A statement by National Secretary Prof. Wale Oladipo said: “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) condemns in totality the brazen display of authoritarianism demonstrated by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC Government in handcuffing its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh even when the court is yet to hear his case.
“This development which expectedly elicited widespread public outcry clearly betrays an extra-judicial, top political witch-hunt policy of the APC, carefully designed to humiliate, embarrass and portray PDP leaders as common criminals and set the stage to cow and decimate opposition and perceived foes of the government.
“The question remains, if not to mortify, dehumanize and break our National Publicity Secretary, who has been very vocal against the APC administration, and of course to send a signal to others critical of the government, what else would have informed the decision to produce him in court in handcuffs, even when his case does not border on security threat?”
The statement added: “While we study the bail conditions, we urge all PDP members to remain calm, united, focused and continue to pray for the nation and her people.
We also urge the media to remain on the side of justice, fairness and rule of law and resist the pressure of being used as a tool to promote arbitrariness and abuse of process in the so-called fight against corruption”.

Source: The Nation

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