Metuh earmarked N500m to buy property on Banana Island – EFCC
A detective with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Junaid Sai'd, on Tuesday, told a Federal High Court in Abuja that the embattled Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spokesman, Olisa Metuh, allegedly transferred N500 million to Daniel Paul International Ltd.
Sai'd said the money was transferred in two tranches of N200 million and N300 million to purchase a landed property for the defendant on Banana Island in Lagos.
The detective also claimed the PDP spokesman allegedly gave $2 million cash to a woman in his home to invest.
Sai'd told the court that the $2 million was Metuh's share of the N10 billion allegedly withdrawn by ex-National Security Adviser (NSA), Mohammed Sambo Dasuki, from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for distribution to party members at the last PDP presidential convention where Goodluck Jonathan was picked as a sole candidate.
The witness said there was evidence that Metuh's company, Destra Investment Limited, got N400 million from the ex-NSA for security services.
But he claimed there were no records of contractual agreement or any project executed.
He said investigation showed that the fund was deployed in PDP campaign.
Metuh is being tried for allegedly using the N400 million he purportedly received from the Office of the NSA in November, 2014, to fund the party's presidential campaign.
He was arraigned with his company, Destra, on January 15 on a seven-count.
The PDP spokesman was also accused of laundering $2 million cash through a phony investment transaction.
On January 25, the first prosecution witness, Nneka Ararume, an employee of Asset and Resource Management (ARM) Company Limited, admitted collecting $2 million from Metuh in his home at the Prince and Princess Estate, Abuja.
Ararume, a Wealth Manager with ARM, said she collected the cash from Metuh on December 2, 2014, with an instruction to invest it in the name of his company - Destra Investments.
Yesterday, Sai'd, under cross-examination by lead defence lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), said: 'In the course of investigation, it was shown that the former NSA withdrew about N10 billion from the CBN and converted same into dollars, which amounted to around $47 million.'
The detective added that the ex-NSA gave the money to the aide de camp (ADC) to the then President and his special adviser (Domestic) to share to PDP members for its presidential convention.
'The $2 million given by the 1st defendant to Nneka Ararume (prosecution witness 1) was linked to the disbursement of the $47 million, which was converted in November, 2014 and shared to PDP members for its presidential convention.'
The EFCC operative alleged that the 1st defendant gave the money to Nneka Ararume to convert to naira.
'There is no document in respect of this transaction, because the money was shared in cash. The document is part of the charges being prepared against those involved. Investigation showed that Ararume during the course of this transaction, worked with ARM Investment,' Sai'd said.
Earlier, in his testimony-in-chief, the witness explained how Metuh allegedly disbursed the N400 million he received from Dasuki.
He said Metuh gave part of the money to former PDP Board of Trustees Chairman Tony Anenih and ex-Aviation Minister Kema Chikwe, among others.
'Among the disbursements, N77.1 million was paid to Yomi Badejo Okusanya of CMC Connect for PDP campaign.
'In similar vein, N25 million was paid to Abbah Dabo for campaign.Another N21,776,000 was paid to Chief Anthony Anineh, while N5 million was paid to Chief Chkwe.
'Another N50 million was transferred to the joint account of the 1st defendant and his wife in the name of Olisa and Kanayo Metuh; N500 million was transferred to Daniel Paul International Ltd in two tranches of N200 million and 300 million to buy a landed property on Banana Island in Lagos by the 1st defendant,' he said.
The witness also gave details of how Metuh allegedly tore part of the statement he made at the EFCC.
'When he concluded writing his statement, which was in four sheets, he handed them over to me. I read it. I also gave it to my other team members to read. After that, I returned it to him for endorsement. He endorsed the first sheet. He also endorsed the second sheet. When he was to endorse the third sheet, in which he stated the money he received…'
But Sai'd was interrupted by Ikpeazu, who objected to that line of his testimony on the grounds that the torn statement was not before the court.
Justice Okon Abang overruled Ikpeazu and directed him to allow 'the witness' statement to flow.'
Following the court's ruling, Sai'd continued and said Metuh tore part of the statement where the money he received 'from the ONSA, was used for PDP campaign and to settle his debts'.
The EFCC agent added: 'To the surprise of the team (investigating team), he (Metuh) tore the sheets into pieces.
'The pieces of the torn sheets were recovered from him and registered with the exhibit keeper of the commission. I made entry of the incident into my EFCC pocket notebook.
'I also made the same entry, in the commission's Incident Duty Record Book.'
Sai'd said: ' Because of what he did, I declined to give him the fourth sheet to endorse because I did not want him to tear it. Much later in the day, he requested to volunteer more statement, I again wrote the cautionary words, I again asked him if he understood it, he said yes and I signed it and he volunteered statement.
'The interview and investigation confirmed that money received by Badejo Okusanya of CMC Connect was used to carry out media campaign for the PDP on the instruction of the 1st defendant.
'In similar vein, the money received by Abbah Dabo was also used for media services for PDP campaign. In the course of investigation, Alhaji Abbah Dabo, having learnt that the money he was paid came from the ONSA, refunded it.
'Investigation showed that N88.5 million was transferred to Tiboro Nig Ltd, to source foreign exchange. It was able to source 66,000 pounds, after which it returned the balance to Destra. The 66,000 pounds was paid into an account outside Nigeria as instructed by the 1st defendant.
'Investigation by the commission with respect to funds paid out by the former NSA has led to two separate pending charges before the FCT High Court,' the witness said.
Copies of the charges and the statement made by Metuh were tendered and admitted in evidence by the court.
On cross examination, the witness said his investigation team did not obtain statements from former President Goodluck Jonathan in the course of investigation.
When Ikpeazu ended his cross-examination, prosecution lawyer Tahir announced the closure of the prosecution's case.
He objected to Ikpeazu's request for adjournment to enable his client prepare for his defence.
Justice Abang noted that the defence did not deserve the adjournment because it failed to provide meaningful reasons.
He, however, adjourned to February18 for the defence to open its case. - The Nation.