Metuh bought landed property in Banana Island for N500m – EFCC witness

By The Rainbow

The  $2m allegedly laundered by the spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, was part of the N10bn which the immediate past National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.), released for the party's presidential convention in 2014, a detective with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Junaid Sa'id revealed on Tuesday.

Sa íd was giving evidence in the trial of Metuh on charges of corruption and money laundering.

Sa'id, an investigative officer with the anti-graft agency, was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Sylvanus Tahir.

He said that the  EFCC, in the course of investigation, discovered how the office of the National Security Adviser under Col. Sambo Dasuki's leadership withdrew the $47 million for the purpose of the campaign activities of the PDP.

He said, “It was at that period that Dasuki withdrew the sum of $47 million from the Central Bank of Nigeria, which was shared to members of the party for the presidential convention.

The commission was able to trace $2 million paid to Destra Investment Company, belonging to Metuh. “It was four days after the disbursements that Chief Metuh gave the money to his then Wealth Manager, Nneka Nicole Ararume.”

Under cross examination by the defence counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, the witness said Metuh had written in his statement that the monies he received from the office of the former NSA was for campaign activities as approved by former President Goodluck Jonathan and for the payment of his personal debt. He added that about N77.5 million was allegedly paid to one CMC Connect for PDP's campaign publicity, while N25 million was given to one Abba Dabo for the same purpose..

Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited, are being prosecuted by the EFCC for allegedly receiving N400m in a fraudulent manner from the ONSA in November, 2014 and also on charges of money laundering of cash transaction involving $2m.

The EFCC had called as its first prosecution witness, Nneka Ararume, a former employee of Asset and Resource Management Company Limited, who narrated how Metuh handed her the $2m in $100 bills at his house in the Prince and Princess Estate, Abuja.

According to the EFCC investigator, the  former Chairman, Board of Trustees, Tony Anenih, also received N21.7 million.

He also told Justice Abang that N500 million was paid in two tranches to a company, Daniel Ford International, by Metuh for the purchase of a landed property at Banana Island in Lagos State. The witness said investigations revealed that the former NSA had on November 27, 2014, made a N10 billion withdrawal from the CBN and converted same to $47 million, which was shared to some PDP party members at its national convention.

“The $2 million allegedly laundered by the PDP spokesman is strongly linked to the said withdrawal.

In his evidence-in-chief, Sa'id, who was led by the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, gave details of how Metuh allegedly disbursed the N400m he received from the ONSA.

He said while Metuh retained N50m for himself, he gave part of the N400m to former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, Tony Anenih; former Minster of Aviation, Kema Chikwe, who got N5m from the largess.

The witness said, “Among the disbursements made were a total sum of N77.1m was paid to one Yomi Badejo Okusanya of CMC Connect to carry out campaign activities for the PDP.

“In similar vein, the sum of N25m was paid to Abbah Dabo to carry out campaign activities. Another N21,776,000 was paid to Chief Anthony Anenih; N5m was discovered to be paid to Chief Kema Chikwe,

“Another sum, N50m, was transferred to the joint account of the 1st defendant (Metuh) and his wife in the name of Olisa and Kanayo Metuh.”

He added that his investigation also revealed that “N500m was discovered to have been transferred to one Daniel Paul International Ltd. in two tranches of N200m and 300m for the purpose of purchasing a landed property at Banana Island in Lagos by the 1st defendant (Metuh).”

He also confirmed that Metuh used the money received from the NSA office for campaign activities of the PDP.

He said, “The interview and investigation carried out confirmed that money received by Badejo Okusanya of CMC Connect were used to carry out media campaign activities 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 the PDP campaign. In the course of investigation, Alhaji Abbah Dabo, having learnt that the money he was paid came from the ONSA, then, refunded the money.

“Investigation revealed that N88.5m was transferred to Tiboro Nigeria Ltd., for the purpose of sourcing foreign exchange. It was able to only source 66,000 British pound, after which it returned the balance to Destra. The 66,000 pounds was paid into an account outside Nigeria as instructed by the first defendant.

“Investigation carried out 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 also narrated how Metuh allegedly tore part of the statement he made at the EFCC, while being interrogated.

Metuh was arraigned along with his company, Destra Investment Limited, on January 15 on seven counts of fraudulently receiving N400m from the NSA office in November 2014. He was also accused of laundering $2m cash.

When asked if there was any documentary evidence to substantiate his testimony, the witness said there was none because the whole transaction was based on physical cash. After his testimony, Tahir said the prosecution was closing its case. This was the 8th witness that testified for the prosecution since the trial started. They had earlier told the court that they had about 18 witnesses. The trial judge, who had earlier admitted all the documentary evidence, adjourned the case till February 18 for the defence to open its case.

Sa'id testified as the eighth prosecution witness on Tuesday.

Under cross-examination by lead defence counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), Sa'id informed the court that Dasuki had withdrawn a sum of N10bn from the Central Bank of Nigeria and converted same to $47m.

He said the money was then given to aides of former President Jonathan for sharing to some PDP members.

Apart from the N400m paid directly to Metuh's firm's account from the ONSA's account with the CBN, Sa'id testified that Metuh got the sum of $2m from the N10bn released by Dasuki.

The witness said under cross-examination, “In the course of investigation, it was revealed that the former NSA had withdrawn about N10bn from the CBN and converted same into dollars which amounted to around $47m.

“He gave the money to the then Aide de Camp to the then President and his Special Adviser, Domestic, to the then President, to share to some PDP party members for the PDP presidential convention.

“The $2m given by the 1st defendant to Nneka Ararume (first prosecution witness) was strongly linked to that disbursement of the $47m, which was converted in November, 2014 and shared out to some PDP members for its presidential convention.

The trial judge, Justice Abang adjourned till February 18.