Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Court adjourns Metuh's trial till tomorrow

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has adjourned trial of the national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh.

In his ruling today, January 26, Justice Okon Abang said trial will continue tomorrow, January 27.

Abang also said ruling on the application of variation of bail by the defendant will be given on Wednesday, January 27.

At the trial, the defense counsel, Onyeashi Ikpeazu had prayed discountenance the documents brought in as evidence by the prosecution.

He argued that the prosecution witness, Bahle Ndam was not the originator of the document and that the documents issued should have been certified as a true copy before being presented to the court.

But Abang overulling the objections raised by the defense counsel, said that any civil servant working in any of the organisation that forms the prosecution can bear witness or tender any correspondence involved in this investigation.

“A staff working in ONSA can tender a document or a letter issued by EFCC addressed to ONSA or a letter issued by the ONSA and addressed to the EFCC. This is sobecause the person is deemed to have a personal knowledge of the document rendered,” Abang said.

He said this is so because all these organizations are one body and all represent the prosecution and serve the same interest in the matter.

“It is my view and of course specified in the constitution that a document that requires payment of a specified fee as the true copy before it can be tendered as evidence before the court,” he said.

He also said that the e-payment schedule is an annexure to the letter.

“It is my view that the prosecution are not seeking leave of court to tender the letters separately,” he said.

He said the letters tendered as attachments and not separately can be admitted by the court.

On mistakes made on the title of the letters by the witness, Abang overruled the objection by Ikpeazu based on the constitutional rights of the court to admit documented evidence over oral evidence.

He further ordered that the three letters issued and received between the EFCC and the ONSA be admitted by the court as exhibit A, B and C.

Continuing with the cross examination by the defense counsel, PW3 agreed that from exhibit B, the office of the NSA also confirmed that all contracts awarded certified all due process.

Looking at exhibit B item five, which focuses on the purchase of three operational vehicles, the prosecution witness said he is not aware of details of security services rendered by Destra Investments.

Ndam said: “By my disposition, I engage in letter drafting, vetting but not in the aspect of general security.”

He also told that administration and finance deal with purchase of items and not the legal department.

Ndam also denied knowledge of whether Destra Investments company received an alert in the tune of N400 million from Diamond bank for payment of the services.

Furthermore, as asked by the defense, Ndam said payments are made following an authorised signature.

The document tendered and examined was signed by M. S Dasuki a former national security adviser, Ndam told the court.

However, on an accusation that he was “procured” by the prosecution to manufacture evidence against the defendant after the case has been charged, PW3 said he is aware that investigation is continuous.

“My lord, that is not right and therefore it is not true that I was procured to make statement on the matter. I am also aware that investigation is continuous until the matter has been disposed of,” Ndam said.

Earlier today, the judge handling the case stood down the trial of Metuh over lateness from prison officials to bring him to the court.

At his trial on Monday, January 25, two prosecution witness gave details of how they received millions of naira, changed currencies and made investment for Metuh.

At the beginning of the hearing of the PDP’s spokesman, he was docked at the court. He was again brought to the court in handcuffs.

Meanwhile, Adeyanju Deji, the PDP’s director of new media, recently accused President Muhammadu Buhari of denying him access to Metuh.