Witness: Metuh Questioned Source of Funds Received from ONSA

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Alex Enumah in Abuja
A defence witness in the ongoing trial of the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, has told a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that Metuh personally made efforts to verify the source of the N400milllion he got from the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in respect of the payment for publicity for both the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) and the then president, Goodluck Jonathan.

The witness, Colet Odenigbo, a former US Naval Officer and a consultant to the office of the PDP spokesman made the disclosure yesterday before Justice Okon Abang, while giving his testimony as the Second Defence Witness (DW 2).
Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited, are being prosecuted by the federal government on seven counts of alleged N400m fraud and money laundering.

The EFCC accused the defendants of fraudulently receiving from the Office of the National Security Adviser in November 2014 the sum of N400million meant for procurement of arm.
It also accused Metuh of money laundering involving a $2million cash transaction.
The prosecution alleged that part of the N400million received from the ONSA was used by Metuh to fund the PDP’s presidential campaign for the 2015 election in which Jonathan was the party’s candidate.

At the resumed hearing yesterday, Odenigbo said he accompanied Metuh to honour the invitation to meet with a panel of the ONSA, where it was agreed that he would be paid N400 million to fund the party’s campaign activities for the 2015 general election.

Odenigbo told the court when led in evidence by Metuh’s counsel, Emeka Etiaba (SAN) that Metuh, in that meeting, “asked at the ONSA meeting of the source of the payment for the funding of the PDP’s campaign activities, he was not told, rather, they said they will get back to him, which they never did until he (Metuh) was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).”

He added that Metuh further told the ONSA panel that he will refund the money if he (Metuh) finds out that the source of the money was not the campaign fund of the party. During cross-examination by the prosecution counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, Odenigbo who claimed that he rendered consultancy services to Metuh, in his capacity as the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, stated that he had never had any dealings with the ONSA, except the day he accompanied Metuh to the meeting where issues of payment was discussed.

Also under cross-examination by Tochukwu Onwubufor (SAN), counsel to Destra Nigeria Investment Limited (second defendant), Odenigbo said he was not aware if Metuh refunded the money, even though he said he will, if the source is not from the party or Jonathan, who was the leader of the party then.

Following the conclusion of the cross examination of the witness, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), one of the counsel to Metuh told Justice Abang that though there were other witnesses, they would have called but due to the health condition of Metuh, they would be applying for an adjournment.

His application was not opposed by any party in the matter and the trial Judge, Justice Okon Abang consequently adjourned till today for continuation of the trial.