Spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh is to remain in Kuje prison till Tuesday, January 19, when his bail application would be considered. The embattled spokesperson and his company, Destra Investments Limited, were today docked by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, before Justice O.E Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on a 7-count charge bordering on money laundering, an offence punishable under the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2012 (as amended).
Metuh is alleged to have received N400m (Four hundred million naira) from former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) from funds meant for arms procurement.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Olisa Metuh and Destra Investments Limited on or before the 24th November, 2014 in Abuja within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable court took possession of the sum N400,000,000 (Four Hundred Million Naira) only, paid into the account of DESTRA INVESTMENTS LIMITED with DIAMOND BANK Plc account number: 0040437573 from the account of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria without contract award when you reasonably ought to have known that the said sum formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity of Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd), the then National Security Adviser (to wit; criminal breach of trust and corruption) and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2), (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act”.
He pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to him.
Prosecuting counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, thereafter urged the court to fix a date for the commencement of trial. He also prayed the court to order the accused to be remanded in prison custody pending the trial.
Counsel to the defence, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, however, prayed the court to discountenance the application of the prosecution stating that it is “illegal and unconstitutional” to remand the defendant in prison.
“We apply for the court to admit the defendant to bail on liberal terms and we rest our application on section 158 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015,” Ikpeazu argued.
While opposing the motion for bail, Tahir noted that “the defence has not filed a written bail application”.
Responding, Ikpeazu, said that the case was a summary trial and that, the notice for arraignment was filed and served “few hours to the arraignment as opposed to the stipulated 7 days notice” thereby giving them little or no time to prepare a formal application.
“The court can use its discretion to grant the defendant bail, irrespective of whether the application was oral or formal. We refer my Lord to the case of Abiola vs FRN,” he said.
After listening to both counsel, Justice Abang posited that “the fact of the case of Abiola vs FRN is different from the fact of this case and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 was not enacted when the case was decided”.
He consequently, refused the accused bail and ordered the defence counsel to file and serve the bail application to the prosecution within 5 hours adding that the prosecution should respond within 24 hours.
Adjourning the case to January 19, 2016 for the hearing of arguments on the bail application, he ordered that the Metuh be remanded in prison custody.
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