Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court, on Tuesday, admitted in evidence, documents tendered by the former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, in his trial for alleged N400m fraud.
The documents include a final account detailing expenditure subheads of the N400m as well as the various media publications in the course of what Metuh submitted is a special national assignment given to him by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The documents, admitted as exhibits 21 and 22 respectively, were tendered by Metuh while being led in evidence in chief by his counsel, Abel Ozioko, at Tuesday’s proceedings.
Metuh had on April 10, 2019 tendered a document detailing disbursements, names and signatures of individuals who received funds in execution of the national assignment, which was also admitted by the Court as Exhibit 20.
Continuing in his evidence, before Justice Okon Abang, Metuh said that he personally handed the final account to former President Jonathan who commended him for his thoroughness in executing the assignment, which according to him, entailed “intensive nationwide advocacy to douse the tension created by the problems of insurgency and sectional agitations, which posed threats to the conduct of the 2015 general election and the cooperate existence of our nation at that time.”
He insisted that no part of the N400m was spent on any activity of the PDP, contrary to the claims of the EFCC, adding that his record of account and receipts of payments proved that the entire fund was used for the national assignment as directed by President Jonathan.
“No part of the N400 million was spent on any activity of the PDP. The record of account and all the expenditure made, with receipts, bearing the names of those who received funds show that the entire N400 million was expended in execution of the Special National Assignment as directed by President Jonathan”, Metuh said.
Speaking further, the former Publicity Secretary told the court that PDP officials including himself adhered strictly to the warning of former President Jonathan against the usage of government fund or assets in the promotion or support of party programmes and activities.
“My Lord the PDP never benefitted from the N400m contrary to allegations and reports then in the public space. That was why the leadership of the PDP, through the then Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Abdullahi Jalo, made publications and emphatically stated the true position, that the PDP had nothing to do with the issue I was being charged with and will not provide sureties, since the party did not benefit from the money.”
Metuh further cleared the air on his earlier hesitation to give out the names of those who worked under him in the execution of the assignment to the EFCC, but preferred to tender them in court. He said such individuals included respected professionals in various fields, including university lecturers and he would not want them to suffer the embarrassment of unnecessary negative media report and misrepresentations at the time.
Justice Abang however adjourned till May 27, 28 and 30, 2019 for continuation of trial.