Things have gone from bad to worse for the national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, as his money laundering trial began in earnest on Monday at a Federal High Court in Abuja, even though he has been unable to meet the conditions of his bail. Metuh is accused of collecting the sum of N400m from the former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday opened its case with two witnesses against Metuh. Before then Metuh’s lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), had tried to ask for adjournment of the trial. He said that since Metuh had been unable to meet the bail conditions granted him on January 16, the defence had filed an application for variation of the terms as the inability of his client to meet the bail conditions had adverse effect on his preparation for the defence.
Justice Okon Abang, the trial judge, however overruled the objection following an opposition to Metuh’s request by the prosecution led by Mr. Sylvanus Tahir.
Tahir then proceeded to open the prosecution’s case on Monday with the testimony of an employee of Asset and Resource Management Company Limited, Nneka Ararume, who narrated how she collected a total sum of $2m cash from Metuh at his house in Prince and Princess Estate, Abuja. Ararume who described her position with the company as Wealth Manager, said the instruction given to her by Metuh was that the money should be invested.
“He gave me the sum of $2m in $100 bills. It was taken to bureau de change operators who would then transfer the money to ARM. From there (Metuh’s house) I proceeded to Mr. Sie Iyenome’s office at Wuse 2 where I gave him the sum of $1m. I also invited Mr. Kabir Mohammed and I also gave him the sum of $1m to transfer the naira equivalent in favour of Destra Investment Limited. Later on the same day, December 2, 2014, Mr. Kabir and Mr. Sie Iyenome confirmed the receipt,” she said.
The prosecution also called Iyenome as its second prosecution witness, who also narrated how he changed the $1m to its naira equivalent and paid it to ARM.
Both witnesses were cross-examined by the defence counsel.
Trial has been adjourned till tomorrow for the prosecution to call more witnesses out of the 16 more witnesses expected to be called by the prosecution.