I Will Not Testify Unless Jonathan Appears In Court – Metuh

A former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Olisa Metuh, insisted before the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday that whether or not he would testify or call additional witnesses in his ongoing trial would be dependent on what former President Goodluck Jonathan would tell the court in respect of the case.

His lawyer, Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN), and the counsel representing his company — Destra Investments Limited — Mr. Tochukwu Onwugbufor (SAN), had earlier said this before the court on Monday.

But the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang had, in a ruling on Monday, dismissed the submission as unknown to law.

The judge stuck to the decision on Tuesday and ordered that Metuh would continue his defence on Wednesday, while ‎the court bailiff would make another attempt to serve Jonathan on December 11.

“Whether a party will call a witness or not cannot be predicated on the evidence of a witness yet to be called,” Justice Abang ruled again on Tuesday.

But Etiaba said he would appeal against the judge’s decisions.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had alleged in some of the seven counts preferred against Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited, that the ex-PDP spokesperson fraudulently received the sum of N400m from Office of the National Security Adviser without any justification and spent the funds on the party’s and personal affairs.

Metuh was also accused of transacting with $2m cash said to be above the threshold of cash payments prescribed by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

But Metuh had insisted that both the then NSA, Sambo Dasuki, who released the sum of N400m and, and Jonathan, who allegedly authorised the payment, were required to testify in the case.

While the summons served on Dasuki had been successfully executed, following which the ex-NSA had testified in the case, the court bailiff had so far been unable to serve Jonathan personally.

On Monday, while ordering the court bailiff to make another attempt to serve Jonathan with the witness summons, the judge insisted that the trial must continue with Metuh either testifying himself or calling another witness other than the former President as his next witness.

The judge then fixed Tuesday for continuation of trial.

But at the resumed hearing on Tuesday, Metuh’s lawyer, Etiaba, insisted that Metuh still wanted Jonathan to first testify before deciding on whether or not the defendant would personally testify in the case.

Jonathan May Receive Subpoena On Metuh’s Case Dec 11

A bailiff of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday gave an indication that he would, on December 11, 2017, might be able to serve former President Goodluck Jonathan the subpoena summoning him to testify as a defence witness in the trial of a former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh.

This was contained in an affidavit filed by the bailiff informing the court that several attempts to serve the former President in his Abuja home had failed.

The bailiff, whose affidavit was read by a court registrar during the Monday’s proceedings, stated that at the last attempt to serve Jonathan, a guard said the former President, said to have travelled abroad, would only be available on December 11.

Reading from the bailiff’s affidavit, the registrar said the bailiff was asked to return to the residence in the afternoon of December 11 to serve the former President.

In response, Metuh’s lawyer, Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN), said he, the lead defence counsel, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), and Metuh himself, had received threats to their lives following their move to have Jonathan summoned to testify in the case.

But he said the threat would not yield to the threat as they would insist Jonathan testify in the case.

Etiaba said, “This subpoena is one that has generated quite a lot of controversy, not just to our client but to myself.

“The threat goes to the life of the first defendant, myself and Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu.

“This will not make us change our mind as to whether His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, will come and testify or not. But we shall only plead with this honourable court to allow the make another attempt on December 11, 2017 at serving him with the subpoena.”

Breaking News: Jonathan Dares Court, Refuses To Appear As Witness

A new twist has again greeted the ongoing trial of former Peoples Democratic Party Spokesperson, Olisa Metuh as former President Goodluck Jonathan refused to honour order of Justice Okon Abang.

Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday, gave an order summoning the former president to appear before him today.

The summon which was in line with a ruling of the Court of Appeal in Abuja that faulted earlier refusal to grant Metuh’s request for subpoena to be issued against Dasuki.

However, reasons for the ex-president’s absence from court could not be ascertained.

Metuh is currently facing charges for allegedly receiving the sum of N400m from former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) in the build up to the 2015 presidential election.

Justice Abang said: “Indeed, at the close of business, yesterday (Monday) being October 23, 2017, precisely at about 3.59 pm, the registrar forwarded to the court in chamber a subpoena to compel former President Goodluck Jonathan to appear in court to testify at the instance of the first defendant (Metuh).

Metuh Offers To Return N400m Loot To “Support Anti-Corruption War”

Embattled spokesperson of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olisa Metuh, has today said that he is ready to return the N400 million received from the office of the National Security Advider during the Jonathan’s administration.

This was made available in a statement by his lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), on Thursday. Recall that the PDP spokesperson is being tried for allegedly receiving N400 million of government arms money.

Metuh who said that dialogue has been on ground at getting his neck off the anti-graft noose also said that talks with the ministry of Justice, the EFCC and other relevant anti-graft bodies are in place.

Stating the decision of the spokesperson, Ikpeazu said, “In the light of the circumstances regarding the case of our client, Chief Olisa Metuh with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), we want to explain the reasons for our client’s proposal to refund the N400 million released to him by former President Goodluck Jonathan, and which was expended on a project approved by the ex-president on national issues relating to his presidency and the federal government at that time,” the statement read.

“We want to restate that at the time the money was released to him after his presentation to the ex-president, our client had no knowledge of the source, a fact that is now obvious from the evidence of the prosecution and defence witnesses. Our client had every cause to believe that the money was from the ex-president to whom he made presentation, received directives and rendered report and accounts accordingly.

“When the matter first came up and Chief Metuh was invited to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in December 2015, he requested to know the source of the money and expressed his readiness to make refunds if it was from government coffers, not minding that the money had been expended as directed by the former President. Officials at ONSA never got back to him as they promised, until his arrest by the EFCC in January 2016.

“It was however while in court that a document was brought regarding the source of the money and since then, our client has made manifest his willingness to refund the money and has indeed approached his family, friends and associates to mobilise funds to refund the entire N400 million to the government regardless of the fact that the money had been expended based on the directives of the former president and that part of the money had been recovered from one of the prosecution witnesses.”

“Our client occupied no government office. His commitment and dedication to his official duties have been confirmed by even prosecution witnesses. In this whole saga, he has been an unfortunate victim of circumstances. His refunding the money therefore goes to show his support for the anti-corruption war as well as serve as a testament to his sincerity, integrity and honesty in this matter,” read the statement.

“There is no doubt that the prosecution has considerably embarked on some expenses in the course of this case. It is hoped that by not discounting the sum already recovered, whatever cost so far incurred would have been defrayed. By this, a critical objective of recovery of funds would no doubt be achieved.

“It is pertinent to restate our client’s continued support for the anti-corruption campaign, which is necessary to ensure probity in the affairs of Nigeria to the extent that it is conducted within the rule of law.”

Jonathan Was Seen As An Ineffective President, Metuh’s Witness Tells Court

A defence Witness, Anthony Okeke, in the ongoing trial of the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olisa Metuh, told an Abuja Federal High Court on Monday that former President, Goodluck Jonathan was seen as ineffective and unserious.

Okeke, a lawyer and member of the PDP served the party in several capacities both at the zonal and national level, among which is the publicity sub-committee of the 2011 Presidential election.

He also served the party as its acting National Publicity Secretary between June 20, 2013 till September of the same year.

Okeke in his evidence said the former President did all he could to launder his battered image.

He said, ” The President of the party who is the leader may direct the disbursement of funds.

“There was the impression that Jonathan was an ineffective and unserious President. He needed a lot of consultancy and media outfits to change his image.

“Jonathan was determined to do everything possible to launder his battered image.

“After Metuh came on board, there was an improvement on Jonathan’s battered image.

Okeke said prior to the 2011 Presidential election, there was serious paucity of funds, adding that the party was owing so many media houses.

Okeke revealed that he did not handover a rich treasury to Metuh.

“At the end of my tenure, I did not leave any money for the first defendant,” Okeke said.

Armsgate: Metuh Was Paid N400m – Okupe

Doyin Okupe, the erstwhile Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan, on Wednesday, appeared as the third defence witness (DW3) for Olisa Metuh, the embattled national spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP who is standing trial over his alleged role in the infamous $2.1 billion arms deal, involving the former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd).

Metuh is being prosecuted alongside his company, Destra Investment Limited on a 7-count charge before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,

He is accused of allegedly receiving N400million (four hundred million naira) from former NSA, Col. Dasuki (retd).

At an earlier sitting on Tuesday, May 17, 2016, the defence had present Ifeanyi Odenigbo, a consultant with Q-time Nigeria Limited, who had told the court that, there was a remittance of N450million from the Office of the NSA to Destra Nig Limited; the source of which he said was not made known to him.

At the resumed sitting today, Okupe while being led in evidence by Metuh’s counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, narrated how he was part of the meeting in which Metuh made a presentation on what could be done to launder the image of the then president and that of the PDP.

“After the meeting, the president said he will make a directive for Metuh to be mobilised with funds to carry out the project. The next day, Metuh called me to tell me that his account had been credited with N400m”, Okupe said.

Under cross examination by counsel to EFCC, Sylvanus Tahir, Okupe, admitted that, government institutions and agencies are not part of the organs of the party.

When shown one of the exhibits (e-payment mandate) from the Office of the NSA, detailing the transfer of the sum N400m to Destra Investment Limited, Okupe claimed he does not understand the document neither does he know what it is all about.

Thereafter, Ikpeazu sought for an adjournment on the grounds that Metuh has a health challenge.

Consequently, Justice Abang adjourned to May 19, 2016 for continuation of defence.

Lai Mohammed’s N500m Libel Suit Against Metuh Moved To Mediation Court

Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of an Ikeja High Court on Wednesday ordered that the N500 million libel suit filed by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, against Mr Olisa Metuh, the PDP’s spokesman, should go to mediation court.

“The file should be taken to the Alternative Dispute Resolution, ADR, Prompt Administrator to set the ADR in motion.

“Now that pleadings have been closed, seven days from today please head to ADR Centre for mediation of this dispute,” Ipaye ruled.

Earlier at the proceedings, Metuh’s lawyer, Mr U.A. Otoahine, filed two applications dated April 25 which were granted by the court.

He said: “My Lord, the first application is requesting for an extension of time to file the statement of defence and originating processes.

“The second application is seeking an extension of time to file a counter-affidavit.”

The judge, however, refused to hear the application brought by counsel to the minister, Mr. Wahab Shittu that the case should be set down for trial.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mohammed, a former spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had on Oct. 12, 2015 filed a suit against Metuh, accusing him of publishing libelous materials against him.

Mohammed alleged that Metuh had falsely accused him of embezzling funds meant to build a fence at an airport in one of the South-west states under the control of APC.

The publication also alleged that Mohammed had obtained funds to supply ambulances to the South-west state, but failed to do so.

The minister is demanding a compensation of N500 million on account of the alleged false publications against him.

Justice Ipaye adjourned the case to June 13 for a progress report from the ADR centre.

All Members Not Delegates May Vote For PDP Aspirants In 2019

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it is planning to apply option A4 in electing its presidential candidate for the 2019 general election and all coming elections.

Olisa Metuh, national publicity secretary of the party, disclosed this on Friday when he received Peter Manu, former chairman of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) of Ghana, at PDP’s national secretariat in Abuja.

Metuh said if approved by the membership of the party, the application of the method may begin with upcoming congresses of the party.

He revealed that the decision was part of the reforms to reposition the PDP for the 2019 general election.

He said the system would not be restricted to presidential election as it would be applicable to others elective positions such as governorship, senatorial, house of representatives and down to the wards.

He explained that with the proposed system, party members would have to queue behind the candidates of their choice.

“We are going to change our system to be that our presidential candidate would be voted for by all party members in the country. It would be at the ward level,” he said.

“We will no longer elect presidential candidate at the national convention. It will now be for every party member to vote for whoever would be our presidential candidate.

“Whoever would vie for our presidential ticket would have to tour the entire country before he can be elected.

“This is part of the reform we are coming up with.

“Basically, this would be the last convention where we would have people to be elected at the national convention. We are taking the party back to the Nigerian people.”

He said the proposed reform was part of Ike Ekweremadu’s committee’s recommendations on how to reform and reposition PDP.

He added that the proposed amendments had been sent to the state chapters for their inputs in line with “our desire to have peoples opinion’’.

“After their inputs, the recommendation would be sent to the national executive committee (NEC) for approval.”

Earlier, Manu had said the process of electing presidential candidate was one of the reforms his party adopted after it lost election to opposition party in Ghana in 2018.

“When we lost election, there was need to review and make amends and these amends led to some critical reforms in the party structure and organisation,” he said.

“We realised for example, that the modus operandi of how our presidential candidate was elected had a hand in why we lost the general election.

“There were as many as 17 presidential candidates in our 2008 contest when President John Kufor was exiting and all the 17 presidential candidate were running for votes from a mere 3,500 delegates.

“So, it was money, money, money until the day of congress.”

Manu said NPP realised that the then opposition party, which was now in government, used that against his party “and cast spell on us as being corrupt, that we were throwing money at the people”.

“So, the first thing I did as the national chairman of the party was to expand the delegates system to cover the nooks and cranny of the party structure,” he said.

“So, the party structure was reorganized to start from the polling unit level where a five-member executive was elected.”

Jonathan Paid Money Into Metuh’s Corporate Bank Account, Witness Tells Court As PDP Spokesman Begins Defence

The defence of the embattled Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, spokesman has finally commenced at an Abuja Federal High Court with the presentation of it’s first witness.

The defence witness, Ike Abonyi, a journalist and Public Relations Consultant with a 28-years working experience in his testimony informed the court how former President, Goodluck Jonathan demanded for a corporate account from Metuh which some amount was paid into.

Abonyi said, “the President told Metuh to bring a corporate account to him for immediate mobilization.”

“I’m aware as a journalist that funding of publicity comes from the leader of the party mainly.”

He said Metuh had engaged him and his services and that of a Public Relations consultant called CNC connect to repackage the image of the party.

Abonyi said, “Metuh called me to work with him when he won the election to occupy the position of the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, saying his new position has to do with the media and he had no knowledge of the media.

“In a bid to repackage the image of PDP, Metuh informed me that he would be engaging the services of a consultancy firm called CNC connect and together we made presentation to Jonathan.

”CNC had worked with former Chairman of the party, Ekewesileze Nwodo but had to withdraw their services because they are being owned by the party.

“Metuh, however told me that he had appealed to CNC connect that they would work with him due to their good job. He appealed to CNC connect that he would want them to continue where Nwodo stopped. They said they were willing to return but the party was owing them and this, Metuh agreed to push their case.

“Following their presentation in a meeting, Metuh promised to meet them but at that time, there was no resources to engage them but we promised to get funds from the party.

“Eventually, the general election was fast approaching and Metuh approached me as the Executive Director of New Telegraph and requested he would need my full services this time, saying he would like if I can come in and work as a consultant to help him on the new challenge of improving the image of the party which was in bad shape and by virtue of his position all eyes were on him to come up with strategies ahead of the upcoming general election.

“When I joined him, Metuh told me that CNC connect will be needed and my response was CNC connect was too expensive as we can deal with other Public Relations firm but he insisted on CNC as the assignment was enormous and would rather go for the best. When I told him of funding, he said the general election was coming and the lack of fund in his department will soon be a thing of the past as the leader of the party will have no choice but to fund the party.

“Even when I tried to lure Metuh out of CNC connect, he reminded me that he had made a commitment and would not go out of it. We eventually called CNC connect to join the team of journalists, where he informed us that he had been given an assignment by the leader of the party, former President, Goodluck Jonathan to come up with strategy that would help the party win the forthcoming election.

“Metuh told us that the assignment given to him was also given to some other professionals and we should see it as a challenge and make sure that our own strategy prevails. The team anchored by CNC connect with PDP began the strategies meeting with Metuh presiding over most of the meetings. We all agreed that he had a good product to offer, but Metuh said we should wait for clearance from the Presidential villa for Presentation.

“One afternoon, he called me that he had just received a call from the National Chairman of the party that the President would be ready for presentation that night and all those involved were resident in Abuja except the Managing Director of CNC connect whom I called to take the next available flight for the presentation. Because he was already expecting the presentation, he took the next available flight to Abuja. Because he was coming in from Lagos, other members of the team went in one vehicle while Metuh carried the Managing Director of CNC in his vehicle. Upon arrival at the villa, only Metuh’s car was allowed to enter but they waited for us at the clearance point where we were ushered to a waiting room where Metuh left and entered another room and 15 minutes later, Metuh ushered us into a large parlour with the President, vice Senate President , National Chairman of the party, former governor of Cross River state, Liyel Imoke and some media aides including Reuben Abati all seated.

“When we entered, the MD of CNC connect was the first to speak from our team, after the presentation, the President requested for comments from the team which he later said were too hard on him, adding that he himself was not helping the matter with the way he was acting.

“At a point, Reuben Abati who saw our presentation as an indictment on him told the President that the situation was not bad as we portrayed but was overruled. After the presentation, the President requested comments from those seated. Peter Obi urged the president to mobilise our team before the commencement of the campaign, if not it would be difficult to win the election giving the difficult situation of the government at that time.

Following Obi’s comment, the President advised that all others that did presentation that night should collapse into Metuh’s team. At that point, the President commended Metuh but said the real job was out there.

” President told him to bring a corporate account to him for immediate mobilisation.”

“I’m aware as a journalist that funding of publicity comes from the leader of the party mainly.”

“After our presentation, we returned to our homes waiting to hear from Metuh on the outcome. One afternoon he told us that work will now start that the president said he should check his bank account that some money had been disbursed for the job.”
Cross examination is still in progress.

Court Orders Metuh To Open Defence On April 11

Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh,to open his defence in his trial for money laundering.

Justice Abang gave the directive after dismissing a number of Metuh’s applications, including one asking the judge to withdraw from the case and another asking for indefinite adjournment.

Metuh had requested an indefinite adjournment pending when the Court of Appeal would hear and determine his appeal against the court’s ruling dismissing his no-case submission and his motion for stay of proceedings of his trial.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting Metuh and his firm before Justice Abang on seven counts of money laundering including $2m cash transaction.

Part of the charges preferred against them also bordered on the N400m which the accused allegedly received fraudulently from the Office of the National Security Adviser in November 2014.

Another lawyer, Mr. Tochukwu Onwugbufor (SAN)‎, who took over the defence of Metuh’s firm on Friday, also made series of oral applications for adjournment which were all dismissed by the court.

The judge said Metuh and his firm were no longer entitled to any further adjournment having exhausted the five times such request could be granted to them under section 396(5) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

Since the prosecution closed its case, the judge recalled that the matter had been adjourned on February 4, 9, March 9, 17 and 24, all at the instance of the defendants.

But the judge subsequently decided to ‎adjourn the case “at the instance of the court” to enable him to attend to other cases on the list.

‎Earlier, the judge had dismissed an application asking him to disqualify himself from further presiding over the trial.

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, had also in a March 24, 2016 letter dismissed Metuh’s petition asking for the transfer of the case from Justice Abang to another judge.

Justice Abang dismissed the application by Metuh for lacking in merit after entertaining arguments in support of it by the PDP spokesperson’s lawyer, Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN), and against it by the counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir.

The accused had sent the petition against the judge and filed the application asking him to withdraw from the case after the prosecution closed its case with eight witness and they were called upon to open their defence.

Both the petition and the motion were based on allegation of bias leveled against the judge.

Ruling on the application Friday, Justice Abang ruled that the allegation of bias against him was baseless.

“It is my considered view that the application lacks merit and it is hereby dismissed,” the judge ruled.

The application by Metuh, through his lawyer, Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN) asking the judge to disqualify himself was based on the allegation that the judge had been bias in the handling of the case.

The same allegation was part of the grounds in an earlier petition by Metuh’s lawyer asking the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Auta, to withdraw the case from Justice Abang and reassign it to another judge.

The Chief Judge had however dismissed the petition on the grounds that it was too late in the day to reassign a case in which the prosecution had called its witnesses.

Justice Abang restated in his ruling on Friday that the there was no evidence adduced by Metuh’s lawyer in support of the application asking him to withdraw from the case.
“The honourable Chief Judge has said he was satisfied with my explanation to the petition,” he ruled.
The lawyer claimed in the application that Metuh was a classmate of the judge in the 1987/1988 set of the Nigerian Law School.
As stated in his petition to the Chief Judge, the lawyer also accused the judge of denying his client fair hearing by refusing to release to the defence team a copy of the records of proceedings of the court to enable them to appeal against some decisions of the judge in the course of the trial.
He alleged that the defence applied for the record of proceedings on February 8, 2016 to enable the defence to appeal against some decisions of the court, but that one month and one week later, the judge had yet to release it to the defence.
Metuh also claimed in the application that he would likely be denied fair hearing in the case due to a losgstanding “frosty relationship” between him and the judge.
Etiaba had also claimed in the petition that Metuh and the judge both practised law in Lagos before the PDP spokesperson relocated to Abuja and Justice Abang on his part was appointed a judge.

Etiaba also alleged that Metuh met and had discussion with Justice Abang late last year in Meridien Hotel in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, adding that his client was baffled at the views expressed by the judge during their encounter.

Justice Abang is now taking arguments on Metuh’s application for adjournment of his trial indefinitely pending the hearing and determination of his appeal against the ruling of the judge dismissing his no-case submission.

The Punch

Chief Judge Dismisses Metuh’s Petition, Asks Judge To Continue Trial

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, has dismissed the petition by the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, seeking the transfer of his trial for money laundering from Justice Okon Abang to another judge.

Justice Auta’s letter responding to the petition by Metuh, a copy of which was obtained on Thursday, stated that it was too late in the day to reassign the case in which the prosecution had already called all its witnesses.

The Chief Judge’s letter, dated March 24, 2016, signed by his Special Assistant, Mr. Ambrose Unaeze, was addressed to one of Metuh’s lawyers, Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN), who had signed and sent the petition on behalf of his client.

Etiaba sent the petition to the Chief Judge, accusing Justice Abang of bias in the handling of the case after his clients were called upon to open their defence.

The lawyer claimed in the petition that Metuh was a classmate of the judge in the 1987/1988 set of the Nigerian Law School.

He claimed that Metuh and the judge both practised law in Lagos before the PDP spokesperson relocated to Abuja, and Justice Abang, on his part, was appointed a judge.

Etiaba also alleged that Metuh met and had discussion with Justice Abang late last year in the Meridien Hotel in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, adding that his client was baffled at the views expressed by the judge during their encounter.

The lawyer also accused the judge of denying his client fair hearing by refusing to release to the defence team a copy of the records of proceedings of the court to enable them to appeal against some decisions of the judge in the course of the trial.

He alleged that the defence applied for the record of proceedings on February 8, 2016, to enable the defence to appeal against some decisions of the court, but that one month and one week later, the judge had yet to release it to the defence.

However, in his response to the petition through his Special Assistant (Unaneze), the Chief Judge said he could no longer take any administrative action on the case, considering the stage at which the matter was.

He advised that the only option open to the defendants was to file an application asking Justice Abang to disqualify himself from further handling the case.

Unaneze stated, “I refer you to your letter of March 16, 2016, and after a careful perusal of your application and the reasons stated therein, the Hon. Chief Judge has directed me to inform you that it is too late in the day for his Lordship to take administrative action with regard to your application.
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“This is so because the parties have already joined issues but are at liberty to file an application before the judge for his consideration and appeal if not satisfied with whatever decision he may take.

“Please accept the assurances of My Lord, the Hon. Chief Judge.”

The defendants had since filed an application before the judge, asking him to disqualify himself from further presiding over the case and return the file to the Chief Judge.

The judge will today (Friday) hear the application which is predicated on the same allegation of bias against him.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting Metuh and his firm before Justice Abang on seven counts of money laundering, including $2m cash transaction.

Part of the charges preferred against them also bordered on the N400m which the accused allegedly received fraudulently from the Office of the National Security Adviser in November 2014.

Meanwhile, Justice Abang, who presides over Metuh’s trial in the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, will today (Friday) hear a fresh application by the PDP spokesperson, asking the judge (Justice Abang) to disqualify himself from further presiding over the case.

Metuh’s fresh application is predicated on the same allegation of bias levelled against the judge in the March 16, 2016 petition which was sent on his behalf by one of his lawyers, Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN), to the Chief Judge of the court.

Justice Abang had earlier denied all the allegations in his response sent to the Chief Judge.

The judge stated that he could not recall either seeing Metuh while at the Nigerian Law School or coming across him while practising as a lawyer anywhere in the country before he (Abang) was appointed a judge in June 2009.

Justice Abang stated that contrary to Metuh’s claim, he never attended any function at the Uyo hotel where the PDP’s spokesperson claimed they met late last year.

He added that he did not see Metuh at the Law School class reunion meetings which he recently attended in Abuja, Lagos and Enugu.

The judge also denied the allegation that he deliberately withheld the record of proceedings to scuttle Metuh’s plan to appeal against some of the court’s decisions.