I can’t testify until Jonathan appears in court, Metuh insists
A former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Olisa Metuh, insisted before the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday that whether or not he would testify or call additional witnesses in his ongoing trial would be dependent on what former President Goodluck Jonathan would tell the court in respect of the case.
His lawyer, Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN), and the counsel representing his company — Destra Investments Limited — Mr. Tochukwu Onwugbufor (SAN), had earlier said this before the court on Monday.
But the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang had, in a ruling on Monday, dismissed the submission as unknown to law.
The judge stuck to the decision on Tuesday and ordered that Metuh would continue his defence on Wednesday, while the court bailiff would make another attempt to serve Jonathan on December 11.
“Whether a party will call a witness or not cannot be predicated on the evidence of a witness yet to be called,” Justice Abang ruled again on Tuesday.
But Etiaba said he would appeal against the judge’s decisions.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had alleged in some of the seven counts preferred against Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited, that the ex-PDP spokesperson fraudulently received the sum of N400m from Office of the National Security Adviser without any justification and spent the funds on the party’s and personal affairs.
Metuh was also accused of transacting with $2m cash said to be above the threshold of cash payments prescribed by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
But Metuh had insisted that both the then NSA, Sambo Dasuki, who released the sum of N400m and, and Jonathan, who allegedly authorised the payment, were required to testify in the case.
While the summons served on Dasuki had been successfully executed, following which the ex-NSA had testified in the case, the court bailiff had so far been unable to serve Jonathan personally.
On Monday, while ordering the court bailiff to make another attempt to serve Jonathan with the witness summons, the judge insisted that the trial must continue with Metuh either testifying himself or calling another witness other than the former President as his next witness.
The judge then fixed Tuesday for continuation of trial.
But at the resumed hearing on Tuesday, Metuh’s lawyer, Etiaba, insisted that Metuh still wanted Jonathan to first testify before deciding on whether or not the defendant would personally testify in the case.