Friday, 15 January 2016

Alleged N400m Fraud: EFCC Files 7-Count Charge Against Metuh

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, preferred seven-count criminal charge against detained National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Olisa Metuh.

Metuh and his firm, Destra Investment Limited, were charged before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court over alleged N400 million fraud.

The charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/05/2016, was signed by the Assistant Director, Legal & Prosecution Department of the EFCC, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir.

The filing process was perfected, yesterday, by EFCC lead prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN. The charge against Metuh borders on alleged money laundering, breach of trust and criminal diversion of public funds.

Specifically, EFCC, alleged that Metuh had in November 2014, collected N400 million from the erstwhile National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, (retd).

The fund, which was withdrawn from an account of the Office of the NSA operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, was allegedly transferred to Metuh through account no. 0040437573, which Destra Investments Limited operated with Diamond Bank Plc.

EFCC insisted that whereas the fund was earmarked for campaign activities of the PDP, it said Metuh diverted most of it to his personal use. It alleged that Metuh converted part of the money to $1 million which he used for his personal business.

Besides, Metuh was alleged to have transferred N21.7 million to another chieftain of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih.

18 witnesses to testify against Metuh

Already, the anti-graft agency has lined up 18 witnesses that will testify against Metuh and his firm before the high court.

Among those to testify in the case are representatives of the Office of the NSA, representatives of Diamond Bank, Access Bank, Sterling Bank, FirstBank, Heritage Bank, Nneka Nicole Ararume, Alhaji Abba Dabo, Mallam Kabiru Ibrahim, Olayinka Badejo Okusanya of CMC Comet, Ahmadu Umar of Kwalaye Investment Limited, Theophilus Musa of Capital Fields Investment and six EFCC investigators.

Though the charge against Metuh has not been assigned to any judge for his arraignment, however, Justice Okon Abang, yesterday, adjourned till January 20 to hear the suit challenging the continued detention of the PDP spokesman in EFCC custody.

Justice Abang adjourned hearing on Metuh’s fundamental right enforcement suit on a day the EFCC insisted that his detention was sequel to a valid court order.

Detention sequel to valid court order

—EFCC

Counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Jacobs, SAN, maintained that the commission obtained a remand order against Metuh in line with provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

Jacobs said the ACJA, 2015, permitted the EFCC to detain an accused person pending completion of investigation into criminal allegations against such person, so far there is a valid approval from a competent court.

He said: “It is arrant nonsense for anybody or group to say that the suspect is being detained illegally for political reasons. EFCC is established by law and as such, cannot take the laws into its hand. The truth is that there is a valid and subsisting court order that permitted the detention of the man.

“The order was issued by the court based on the avalanche of documentary evidence that was placed before it.”

The EFCC lawyer told the court, yesterday, that the commission would need time to study Metuh’s fundamental right enforcement suit which he said was only served on the anti-graft agency Wednesday morning.

Arguing that EFCC still have five days to respond to Me tuh’s suit, Jacobs, yesterday, persuaded Justice Abang to adjourn the matter which he said was not ripe for hearing.

Even though Metuh, through his lawyer, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe, SAN, urged the court to abridge the time within which the EFCC could respond to the suit, Justice Abang, yesterday, declined the prayer.

Adedipe accused the EFCC of not only detaining his client illegally, but also failed to arraign him within the time stipulated by the law.

He contended that the anti-graft agency ought to have concluded its investigations before arresting an accused person.

Meanwhile, some of the charges that were filed gainst Metuh yesterday read: \’That you, Olisa Metuh and Destra Investment Limited, on or about the 24th November, 2014, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, took possession of the sum of N400, 000,000.00 (Four Hundred Million Naira) only, paid into the account of Destra Investments Limited with Diamond Bank Plc. Account No. 0040437573 from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria without contract award, when you reasonably ought to have known that the said fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity of Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) the then NSA (To wit: criminal breach of trust and corruption) and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011, as amended in 2012 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.

“That you, Olisa Metuh and Destra Investment Limited on or about the 24th November, 2014 in Abuja converted the sum of N400m paid into the account of Destra Investment Limited with Diamond Bank Plc, Account No: 0040437573 from the account of the office of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria without contract award when you reasonably ought to have known that the said fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity of Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) the then National Security Adviser (To Wit: criminal breach of trust and corruption) and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2), (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

“That you, Olisa Metuh and Destra Investments Limited on or about the 24th November, 2014 in Abuja, did retain the sum of N400m on behalf of the Peoples Democratic Party of its campaign activities by concealing the said sum in your account with Diamond Bank Plc, when you reasonably ought to have known that such fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity of Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd), the then National Security Adviser, (to wit: criminal breach of trust and corruption), and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 17(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 17(b) of the same Act.

“The you, Olisa Metuh and Destra Investments Limited on or about the 2nd Dec. 2014 in Abuja did make a cash payment through your agent one Nneka Nicole Ararume to one Kabiru Ibrahim, a non financial initiation to the tune of $1,000,000.00 USD (One Million United States Dollars) only and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

“That you, Olisa Metuh and Destra Investments Limited on or about the 2nd Dec. 2014 in Abuja, did make a cash payment through your agent one Nneka Nicole Ararume to one Sie Iyenome of Capital Field Investment, to the tune of $1,000,000.00 USD (One Million United States Dollars) only and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

“That you, Olisa Metuh and Destra and Destra Investments Limited on or about the 4th Dec. 2014 in Abuja, did transfer the sum of N21,776,000.00 (Twenty-One Million, Seven Hundred and Seventy Six Thousand Naira) being part of the sum of N400m which directly represented the proceeds of an unlawful activity of Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (Rtd), the then National Security Adviser (to wit: Criminal Breach of Trust and corruption) to Chief Anthony Anenih and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act”.