â€¢ To rule on ex-NSAâ€™s refusal to testify
Alex Enumah in Abuja
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered that former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, his then National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki, appear in court today to give evidence in the trial of former Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh.
Justice Abang gave the order following a subpoena he signed against Jonathan presented before the court by the first defendant.
Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited, are standing trial on a seven-count charge of money laundering involving alleged cash transaction of $2million and fraudulent receipt of N400million meant for procurement of arms from the Office of the NSAÂ at a time.
At the last adjournment, the counsel had argued for and against the motion by Dasuki asking the court to set aside its earlier order compelling him to testify in the trial of Metuh.
Abang who disclosed that he received Metuhâ€™s application for a subpoena to be issued on Jonathan at about 3.59p.m., yesterday in a brief ruling held: â€œIndeed, at the close of business yesterday being October 23, 2017, precisely at about 3.59p.m., the registrar forwarded to the court in chamber a subpoena to compel former President Jonathan to appear in court to testify at the instance of the first defendant (Metuh).
â€œTherefore, in line with section 241(1) of Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 and having regard to the subsisting judgment of the Court of Appeal in the appeal CA/A/159C/2017, between Metuh and Federal Republic of Nigeria dated September 29, 2017, to the effect that it will be tantamount to violating the right of the first defendant to fair hearing not to sign the subpoena.
â€œI have no other option than to sign a subpoena to compel former President Jonathan to appear in court on September 25, 2017, to give evidence at the instance of the first defendant.â€
The judge also held that though ruling on Dasukiâ€™s motion seeking to set aside an order compelling him to testify in court for Metuh has been adjourned till today, but as at the close of yesterday, the order remains valid and in force, therefore Dasuki and the former president must appear in court today.
The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja on September 29 had subpoena Dasuki to appear as defence witness at the instance of Metuh.
However, Dasuki, through his counsel,Â Ahmed Raji (SAN) yesterday held that he cannot be compelled to testify in favour of Metuh.
Raji held that Dasuki as an accomplice, cannot be made to stand as a witness for the co-accused.
He said Dasuki has remained in detention despite a court ordering his release.
Raji pleaded with the court to suspend the subpoena execution, pending Dasukiâ€™s release from DSS custody. â€œThe law cannot command what is impossible,â€ he submitted.
He also pleaded with the court to â€œbend backward and grant the application.â€
However, counsel to Metuh, Onyechi Ikpeazu, urged the court to discountenance Rajiâ€™s submission, adding that he had countered it with 14 paragraph counter affidavit and written addresses.
He argued that with the courtâ€™s signing of the subpoena, the judge was merely abiding with the relevant sections of the constitution, and urged the court to dismiss Dasukiâ€™s prayer.
Â According to Ikpeazu, â€œIn this case, he (Dasuki) is neither the first or second defendant. He merely appears as particular of offence of the first and second defendants.â€
He argued that the process not to abide by Court of Appeal order would be an affront on the court.
The prosecution counsel, Tahir Sylvanus, who also objected to Dasukiâ€™s motion, in an oral application, objected to Dasukiâ€™s motion on four grounds.
Â Justice Abang in adjourning the case to today, said there was need to reserve ruling to another date to allow the court go through authorities cited by counsel.