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N400m fraud trial: Metuh’s surety withdraws



Absence of judge stalls Metuh, Badeh’s case

Embattled former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Olisa Metuh on Monday faced another obstacle while defending the seven-count criminal charge against him as one of his two guarantors, Dr. Olugbumi Usim-Wilson, asked the court to remove her name as a surety.

Metuh was admitted to bail early this year by the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, after he provided two sureties with landed properties valued at N400m in Maitama or Asokoro districts of Abuja the Federal Capital Territory.

But at the resumed trial on Monday, Dr. Usim-Wilson told the court through his counsel Clement Chinaka, that she had filed an application dated October 4, 2016 to withdraw her guarantorship

The counsel urged the court to allow him move the application to remove her client’s name from the lists of guarantors standing surety for Metuh.

Dr. Usim-Wilson, however did not give reasons for her withdrawal.

Responding, Metuh’s lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, said Metuh had filed a motion dated October 14 on the same issue praying the court to allow him replace Usim-Wilson with the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, as his guarantor.

Ikpeazu objected to the request made by Usim-Wilson’s lawyer to her withdrawal application first and observed that it means sending the defendant to prison while his application is pending.

He prayed the court to use its discretion.

In a short ruling, the trial Judge, Justice Okon Abang, held that the court will take Metuh’s application first since the defendant had been consistent in the trial.

According to Justice Abang, “Usim-Wilson, in her application prayed the court to withdraw her suretyship, while that of Metuh sought to substitute her with Senator Ekweremadu.”

“It is deserving to take that of Metuh first since he has been consistent in the trial.

“This is because if that of the applicant is taken first, it means that Metuh will be going back to prison but if we take that of Metuh first, the substitution would have taken effect”, he held.

The judge further adjourned the case to October 27, to hear all the applications and also for continuation of trial.

Metuh, who is facing trial alongside his firm, Destra Investment Limited, was alleged to have received N400million from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), prior to the 2015 presidential election.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) told the court that the N400m which  was released to the defendants by the erstwhile NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd),‎ ‎was part of about $2.1billion earmarked for the purchase of arms to prosecute the war against insurgency in the country.

It said the fund was electronically wired from an account ONSA operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to Metuh, via account no. 0040437573, which his firm operated with Diamond Bank Plc.

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