A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday ordered that the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, be remanded in Kuje prison till Tuesday when hearing on his bail application for money laundering charges preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, would be heard.
Justice Okon Abang gave the order after the PDP spokesperson pleaded not guilty to the seven-count charges involving N400 million, which the EFCC alleged that he collected from the Office of the National Security Adviser in November 2014.
The money was allegedly part of the funds meant for the procurement of arms, but which was released to him for campaign activities of the PDP by the immediate past NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), who is also facing charges bordering on the diversion of arms funds.
Earlier on yesterday, Justice Abang rejected the request by defence counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), to make the application for Metuh’s bail orally, and ruled in favour of the EFCC counsel, Mr. Sylvester Tahir that the bail application could not be led from the bar.
A formal application was therefore suggested even as Tahir also opposed the request by the defence ‎that Metuh be remanded in EFCC custody.
The judge upheld the objection and directed that the accused be remanded in prison.
The judge directed the defence to file and serve the bail application within six hours from the time of delivering the ruling and directed EFCC if it wishes, to file and serve its objection to it within 24 hours.
He ruled that the defence was at liberty to file a further response to EFCC’s objection to the bail application within five hours if it intended to and directed that the trial, which would proceed on day to day, would commence on January 25.
Earlier, Metuh who was arraigned along with his firm, Destra Investments Limited, pleaded not guilty to the seven counts.
The EFCC alleged in the laundering case, marked FHC/ABJ/CR/05/2016, that Metuh and Destra through their account with Diamond Bank Plc collected the sum of N400m from the NSA office on November 22, 2015, for PDP’s campaign activities.
The prosecution alleged that the N400 million was “part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity” of the immediate past NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
In the fresh charges, Metuh and Destra allegedly transferred the sum of N21.8 million to Anenih and they (Metuh and Destra) 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.
The EFCC alleged in the last and seventh count that out of the N400m collected from the NSA office, Metuh transferred the sum of N21, 776,000 to Anenih on December 4, 2014.
In counts five and six, Metuh and the company on December 2, 2014 allegedly made separate cash payments of $1m each to Kabiru Ibrahim and Sie Iyenome of Capital Field Investments.
Both cash payments of the total sum of $2 million were said to have been made through an agent of the accused person, named, Nneka Nicole Ararume.
By the cash payments, the accused were said to have committed offences contrary to section 1 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act as amended in 2012 and punishable under section 16(2)(b) of the same Act respectively.