Doyin Okupe says ‘Jonathan told me he authorised N400m paid to Metuh’

Doyin Okupe

Doyin Okupe

The former Senor Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr Doyin Okupe, told Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja on Wednesday that Jonathan said to him that he gave the sum of N400 million to Chief Olisa Metuh, the National Publicity Secretary of PDP.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited on seven counts, including alleged fraudulent collection of N400m from the Office of the National Security Adviser in November 2014.

Metuh and his firm allegedly used the fund for the PDP’s presidential campaign ahead of the 2015 election.

Among other charges preferred against the defendants were money laundering allegations involving cash transaction of $2m without passing through a financial institution.

Okupe, who appeared before Justice Okon Abang as the third defence witness, said the payment of the N400m‎ to Metuh by the NSA’s office was authorised by Jonathan.

‎He said the instruction given by Jonathan for the payment of the money to Metuh, followed a presentation which Metuh’s campaign team made to the then President at the presidential villa.

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Okupe, who was led in evidence by the lead defence counsel, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), said he attended the meeting during which a consultant engaged by Metuh made the presentation for the PDP’s campaign strategy.

He said Jonathan himself told him after the meeting that he had authorised the payment of the N400m to Metuh.

The witness said, “After the usual exchange of pleasantries, Mr. President gave a short briefing in line with what I said earlier.

“He then asked Olisa Metuh and his consultant to make their presentation which they did. After the presentation, there were comments from those who attended the meeting.

“The presentation was approved for action and the President said Mr. Metuh would be given part of the money that was in budget for the execution of the project. We all left.

“I know from two sources that Mr. Metuh got the money. The first source was the President himself who told me that he had instructed that Chief Metuh be mobilised,*And that was during breakfast with Mr. President one morning.

“He told me that he had instructed that Chief Metuh be mobilised with N400 m. The following day, very early in the morning, I got a call from Chief Metuh who told me that he had received N400m from the President.

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“Chief Metuh set up a very large committee of various people, comprising former editors, resource persons in line with media, publicity, image management and all that. And they met somewhere in Asokoro. It was a full fledged session. I can testify that quite a substantial amount of work was done.

“Some of the substantial results were security related but others that had to do with image and perception.”

Under cross examination by counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, the witness admitted that government institutions and agencies were not part of the organs of the party.

When shown one of the exhibits (e-payment mandate) from the Office of the NSA, detailing the transfer of the sum N400m to Destra Investment Limited, Okupe claimed he did not understand the document neither did he know what it was about.

Punch

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