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Arms Deal: PDP Spokesman, Metuh, Tears Own Statement To Shreds


News » Politics
Nigeria

IMAGE: Olisa Metuh »

January.13.2016

The troubled national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, has compounded his problems by tearing to shreds the statement he made at the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday.

Metuh has been in the custody of the Commission for allegedly receiving N400 million through a company he has interest in and receiving some monthly allocation from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

Apparently distraught that his hunger strike stunt has not softened the resolve of EFCC to keep him in custody pending arraignment in court for act of thievery running into millions of naira, Metuh reportedly seized and tore to shreds copies of statement he had voluntarily made to the Commission.

The suspect, competent sources disclosed, was presented with copies of his statement to endorse by the investigating officer but rather than sign the document, Metuh, apparently realising the weight of his confession, seized the documents and proceeded to tear them.

Metuh was said to be contemplating stuffing the papers into his mouth in a bid to swallow them when he was stopped by operatives who managed to recover the torn pieces of paper from the PDP spokesman.

A source said Metuh’s action – trying to destroy a major evidence in the case – was an offence which could attract a separate charge in court.

“The tearing of statement is tantamount to wilful destruction of government property and it is a serious offence. Also the fact that he obstructed operatives from performing their job is also a criminal offence.

“Will explore the possibility of filing a separate charge against him at the Federal Capital Territory High Court,” the source said,

Take Metuh to court or release him in 48 hours, PDP reps tell EFCC

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the House of Representatives yesterday gave a 48-hour ultimatum to the EFCC to charge the party’s national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, to court or release him from detention.

The PDP lawmakers also condemned the continued detention of Metuh, adding that much as they would not endorse corruption, there was however the need to ensure due process by the EFCC.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, House minority leader, Hon. Leo Ogor, accused the anti-graft agency of bias and preferential treatment in the ongoing fight against corruption, saying that it cannot be “different strokes for different folks.”

He explained that their grouse with the EFCC style was that Metuh has been held for about 10 days and is not being charged to any competent court of law as stipulated by the Constitution.

“We ‎want to lay emphasis on due process; we are not in support of corrupt attitude or actions. I will lay emphasis on due process and the rule of law and the issue here again is the arrest of the voice of the PDP, who is Chief Olisa Metuh.

“As a House, we condemn it totally and we insist that, within the next 48 hours, Olisa Metuh should be given administrative bail or be taken before a competent court of jurisdiction where he can be tried and, if pronounced guilty, be made to face the consequence.

“The action of the EFCC as it stands today negates the principle of the laws that run the commission. It offends the fundamental rights of Olisa Metuh; it is more like pronouncing him guilty before he is put forward for trial.

“On this same issue that borders on the transfer of funds, Isa Jafaru, who was also arrested on the same subject matter, was detained by the EFCC and, in less than eight hours, was given administrative bail after the chairman of the EFCC visited Aso Rock.”

The lawmakers asserted that the EFCC lacks the power to force suspects to refund stolen money, saying the power lies with the law courts.

The minority leader further said that, as a House, they will look into the said $2.1bn arms fund because the legislature never approved such sum of money in the first place, adding that if there is the need, the PDP Caucus will approach the international community to seek redress over Metuh.

The spokesman of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, yesterday said his continued incarceration by the EFCC and its failure to charge him to court are deliberately intended to prevent him from telling his own story in the open court.

A statement by his media aide, Richard Ihediwa, also decried what it considered a deliberate falsehood with regards to the amount of money involved and the events surrounding his sojourn at the EFCC, saying it was intended to sway public opinion against the suspect.

The statement said, “Chief Metuh believes that the continued false reports in the media, the latest being the publication claiming that he told investigators that he would “rather starve than refund any money”, is part of the blackmail and scheme to pitch him against the public.

“The grand design to sway the public and derail the course of proper investigation started with misleading and malicious reports that Chief Metuh made away with N1.4 billion arms deal cash and had been receiving a monthly N4 million stipend from the Office of the National Security Adviser. When this deliberate falsehood could not be sustained, it was adjusted to him receiving N400 million from ONSA.

“This office wishes to state categorically that Chief Metuh has fully cooperated with investigators within his constitutionally guaranteed rights. In exercise of his rights, he has since given his statement to the EFCC wherein he submitted that he received the sum of N400 million from the former president for an assignment which he executed to the satisfaction of the former president.

“In further exercise of his rights, Chief Metuh has also indicated his readiness to make public the nature of this assignment, but only in an open court in line with the laws of the land, and where his statement would not be distorted by anybody.”

According to the statement, Chief Metuh believes that his continued incarceration and failure to charge him to court are deliberately intended to prevent him from telling his own story in the open court for all Nigerians to know.

“We wish to state that contrary to the impression that the issue of N400 million was a product of investigation, it was actually a product of Chief Metuh’s voluntary statement.

“Chief Metuh had since informed that sometime in December 2015, the ONSA published an invitation to companies they believed executed contracts for it for a chat.

“Upon ONSA invitation via a text message, Chief Metuh, regardless of the fact that he did not execute any contract for the Office, appeared before the ONSA panel, wherein he presented his company’s statement of account showing that the sum of N400 million paid on the instruction of the ex-president for an assignment was traceable to the ONSA account.

“Recall that Chief Metuh, even before visiting ONSA, had at a media briefing acknowledged the receipt of N400 million from the ex-president for the exercise of the said assignment,” it added.

Lawyer asks court to compel EFCC to produce Metuh in court

Lagos-based lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, again yesterday filed another application before the Federal High Court in Lagos, seeking an order to compel the EFCC to produce the spokesman of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, in court.

LEADERSHIP recalls that Adegboruwa had on Monday filed a fundamental rights enforcement suit before the same court, seeking an order directing the government and its agents to immediately release Metuh from the custody of the EFCC.

In a new application filed yesterday, the lawyer is seeking an order directing the first respondent to forthwith release the applicant from unlawful custody pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

Adegboruwa is also asking the court to compel the EFCC to produce Metuh in court in Lagos and show cause why he should not be released.

He argued that the EFCC could not constitute itself into an accuser, a prosecutor and a judge at the same time – a practice that contravenes constitutional provisions on the presumption of innocence of an accused.

Adegboruwa is seeking, among other reliefs, “an order, granting bail to the applicant herein, pending the determination of the motion on notice, or his arraignment before any court of competent jurisdiction.

“An order directing the first respondent to produce the applicant before the court and to show cause why he should not be released from custody, pending the determination of the suit.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the two applications

 
 

 

Article Credit: Leadership

Updated 2 Years ago
 

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Tags:     Olisa Metuh     Arms Deal     Teas Statement

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