Law News
How Metuh secured N400m bail

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, yesterday, granted bail to the embattled National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Olisa Metuh, to the tune of N400 million.

Metuh brought to court today in handcuff

Metuh brought to court today in handcuff

Metuh, who was on Friday remanded in Kuje Prison by Justice Okon Abang, was brought to court yesterday in handcuffs.

He is answering to a seven-count criminal charge preferred against him by the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

His firm, Destra Investment Limited, was also charged before the court over alleged N400 million fraud involving the Office of the National Security Adviser.

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The fund which was  withdrawn from an account the Office of the NSA operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, was allegedly transferred to Metuh through account no. 0040437573 which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

Plea for bail

Meanwhile, Metuh, who earlier pleaded not guilty to the charge, yesterday, prayed the court to release him on bail pending the determination of the case against him.

The application which he filed  through his team of lawyers, comprising four Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs, was predicated on  provisions of sections 35 and 36 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as sections 156, 162 and 165 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

His lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, who argued the application, yesterday, urged the court to grant his client bail on self recognition.

Insisting that allegations levelled against Metuh are ordinarily bailable,  Uche told the court that his client voluntarily submitted himself to the EFCC.

Uche maintained that his client had every opportunity to escape from the country prior to the time he was invited by the anti-graft agency, but refused to do so.

Besides, he drew the attention of the court to the fact that the former NSA, Dasuki, and  other persons also facing similar charges by the EFCC have all secured bail from different courts.

EFCC opposes bail application

Meantime, the EFCC, yesterday, opposed Metuh’s bail request, saying he has the capacity to interfere with ongoing investigations against him.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, who is the Assistant Director, Legal & Prosecution Department of the EFCC, told the court that Metuh attacked operatives of the agency and tore pages of his statement.

He urged the court to consider the criminal nature of the charge which he said attracts a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment upon conviction, and deny the accused person bail.

After listening to all the parties, yesterday, Justice Abang, in a bench ruling, said he was favourably disposed to granting bail to the accused person.

The judge who agreed with Metuh’s lawyer that the offences are bailable, said the EFCC could not establish its allegation that the accused person destroyed his statement.

“To hold the view that the accused person, if released on bail, will act in the same manner is speculative. The court does not act on speculation. The alleged conduct of the defendant while in custody of the EFCC cannot be a factor to be considered in refusing his application for bail,” the Judge held.

He said the paramount thing was for the court to impose conditions that would compel the attendance of the accused for trial, saying he is in the eyes of the law presumed innocent until proved guilty.

Consequently, Justice  Abang ordered Metuh to produce two sureties who must deposit the sum of N200 million each.

He maintained that the sureties must not only be residents of Abuja, but also owners of landed  property within the Maitama district of the FCT.

They are to submit the Certificates of Occupancy of the property to the Chief Registrar of the court for verification, as well as submit their three years tax clearance.

According to the court, the sureties must swear to an affidavit of means and also submit two recent passport photographs.

More so, Justice Abang ordered Metuh to surrender his international passport to the Chief Registrar of the high court.

He directed that the prosecution should within 24 hours upon receiving notification that the accused has perfected the conditions, personally conduct a verification with a view to ensuring that all the terms were duly perfected.

However, the court, yesterday, declined Metuh’s prayer for it  to restrain the EFCC from re-arresting him upon fulfilment of the conditions.

While adjourning full-blown hearing on the matter till January 25, the judge asked the EFCC to summon its witnesses to be prepared for trial.

Click here to read from source.

You must be logged in to post a comment.