- Arrests Metuh
A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday arraigned ex-Peoples Democratic Party , PDP national chairman and his son, Abbah Mohammed before Justice Ahmed Mohammed on a four-count charge of money laundering involving the sum of N300million allegedly collected from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki( rtd).
Justice Mohammed ordered the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, to ensure that Bello, who was brought to the court in a wheelchair monitored in hospital, and remanded the PDP chieftain’s son in Kuje Prison till Thursday when ruling on their bail application scheduled to be entertained tomorrow, is heard.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had filed charges against Bello, who is also a former Minister of Defence, and his son, along with their firm, Bam Properties.
The anti-graft agency alleged that the accused persons, through the firm, withdrew the sum of N300million from an account the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
The fund was said to have been transferred to the accused persons, 11 days to the 2015 presidential election by a former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
Both Bello and his son pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The trial judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed had okayed 30 minutes stand-down on the matter to entertain arguments on whether or not the accused persons should be granted bail.
EFCC lawyer, Mr. Aliyu Yusuf had immediately after the duo took their plea, urged the court to remand them in prison custody pending their trial.
However, counsel to the defendants, O. Osoka and Abdulaziz Ibrahim, opposed Federal Government’s remand application, saying their clients had already filed separate motions for bail.
“The 3rd defendant is willing and ready to stand his trial, but we vehemently oppose the application to remand him in prison custody”, counsel to the former PDP boss, Ibrahim, maintained.
Some of the charges against them read: “That you Bello Abba Mohammed, Bam Projects and Properties Ltd and Dr. Haliru Bello on or about 17th March 2015 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court took possession of the sum of N300million paid into the account of BAM Projects and Properties Limited with Sterling Bank Plc from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser with the CBN 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 you 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 Bello Abba Mohammed, Bam Projects and Properties Ltd and Dr Haliru Bello on or about 17th March 2015 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, converted the sum of N300,000,000.00 (Three Hundred Million Naira) which sum was transferred from the account of the office of the National Security of Nigeria with the Central Bank of Nigeria for the purporting same to be for ‘Safe Houses” but which you claimed to have received for political campaign and 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 you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15 (2) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.”
How Metuh, PDP Spokesman was arrested
Details emerged yesterday on how the national publicity secretary of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Following speculations on Monday that the PDP Spokesman was on the verge of being arrested over undisclosed allegations, his media assistant, Richard Ihediwa raised the alarm that the anti-graft agency has not issued any letter of invitation to Metuh.
Ihediwa said yesterday that four officials of the anti-graft agency arrived the Abuja home of the spokesman of the PDP unannounced in a white unmarked Toyota Hiace bus Tuesday morning and were given access into the premises unhindered.
The EFCC officials were said to have invited him to follow them to the commission’s headquarters and upon enquiry on the reasons for the invitation, the officials stated that he has some issues to clear with the commission.
“They also said he was not being arrested but friendly invited.”
As at yesterday evening, Chief Metuh was still being kept at the commission’s headquarters and his lawyers were said to be making frantic efforts to reach him.
Ihediwa added that, “While details of why Chief Metuh was invited is yet to be made public by the commission, it could be recalled that severally, Chief Metuh, as the mouthpiece of the opposition party had alerted in various press conferences and statements that he has been under threat and that the ruling party and the government have been very uncomfortable with his stance.
“The latest being the outburst and threats by the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Oyegun in reaction to Chief Metuh’s criticisms of President Buhari’s widely criticized response on government’s disobedience of court orders, during the last Wednesday’s Presidential Media chat.” The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday confirmed the investigation of Chief Olisa Metuh, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, over his alleged involvement in the $2.1billion arms contract scam.
Don’t kill Metuh’ – PDP cries out
National leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday night demanded for immediate release of the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, who was Tuesday morning invited and detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
According to a statement issued by the national secretary, Prof Adewale Oladipo, the arrest of the party’s Spokesman did not come to members of PDP “as a surprise given series of threats to our party’s spokesman by the APC and the Federal Government, who are obviously not comfortable with our stance on the confused state of the nation under their watch.
“The arrest of Chief Metuh today underscores the growing political intolerance in our country and the foisting of a police state which was last Wednesday underscored by the President and Commander-in-Chief himself, who defended why a government in a democracy should flout constitutional provision and brazenly disobey court orders.
“This onslaught against our spokesman, according to intelligence available to us is part of a larger script by the government to ensure that PDP wings are finally clipped in their mission to install a dictatorial one-party state in the country.
“The excesses of security agencies under this government, especially the Department of Security Services, DSS, and the EFCC, in abridging the human rights of PDP members have become worrisome and a threat to our democratic evolution.”
Prof Oladipo emphasized that Nigerians and the international community will recall that, on a number of occasions, the PDP, through its spokesman has been outspoken on some undemocratic proclivities being exhibited by the APC-led Federal Government in the last seven months.
“The PDP insists that, for whatever reason Chief Metuh was arrested, his rights as a citizen under the law must not be trampled upon. We therefore demand for his immediate release and that due process of investigation and prosecution concerning him should be strictly adhered to.
“We state this because we have been made aware of top directives to break Chief Metuh and if possible poison him during his detention by the EFCC.”
The PDP Scribe declared that Chief Metuh, has since his arrest about 10 am yesterday been kept
incommunicado, with his lawyers denied access to him.
“The PDP declares the arrest of our spokesman as the last straw that may break our democracy. We therefore forewarn the Federal Government and its agencies to save our democracy and forthwith release our National Publicity Secretary.
“We are also calling on the international community and well-meaning Nigerians to stand up for this democracy, which our party nurtured for 16 years and deepened to a level where the opposition, for the first time in our political history, had the opportunity to win in a general election,” the party stated.