Erstwhile spokesman for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Olisa Metuh has alleged that former President Goodluck Jonathan gave him N400 million before the 2015 presidential election.
Concise News reports that Metuh gave this explanation before a Federal High Court presided by Okon Abang on Tuesday.
Metuh, who is facing a seven-count charge for alleged diversion of N400 million he received from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, says the money was credited to his account, ”after he unravelled some of the challenges that faced Jonathan’s re-election bid”.
Metuh told the court that Jonathan requested his account number after he watched a presentation on strategies the PDP needed to adopt if it was to neutralise the political influence of the then opposition, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
According to Metuh, who mounted the witness box to testify in defence of the charge against him, among those that watched the Powerpoint presentation with Jonathan, included the current vice presidential candidate of the opposition PDP, Peter Obi.
Others were the then-Vice President, Namadi Sambo, then-National Chairman of the PDP, Adamu Muazu, ex-Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke and a late chieftain of the party, Tony Anenih.
He said Jonathan was highly impressed with the presentation and assured that the party was in good financial standing to sponsor a ‘favourable’ media campaign.
“He requested that I should give him account details for him to send money to handle what he called ‘special assignment’. He said the success of the assignment would go a long way in ”determining the survival of our democracy, especially the holding of a peaceful election,” Metuh said.
“The president also directed his aides, Reuben Abati, Doyin Okupe and Oronto Douglas, to work directly with me under the supervision of Anenih.
“As we got to the car park, the National Chairman told me that since the president was comfortable with my proposal for the media campaign, he said I should come to his house with my bill, together with the National Financial Secretary.
“He directed the National Financial Secretary to approve my outstanding bills and to keep for emergencies for my media campaign. Subsequently, he approved the programme for the party’s media campaign.
“The President later told me that he had paid N400 million to my account and that I should start the assignment immediately.
“I thanked him, and I directed Mr Sam Ben, my Executive Assistant, to call my account officer. We asked her whether I had N400 million inflow into my account.
“She took a couple of minutes and confirmed the payment of N400 million. Consequent upon that, we started the assignment.”
When asked by his lawyer, Emeka Etiaba, if he was aware of the source of the N400 million, Metuh said: “I know the payment came from the President as a leader of the party and with assurances of the funds that he raised from his friends.
“It is normal that the leader or candidate in an election spends money and contributions that are mostly made directly to him. I knew that the leader of the party informed me that he made the payment of N400 million into my account.”
He says he never knew that the EFCC was investigating him until his statement of account was published in a national daily.
Meanwhile, the EFCC lawyer, Sylvanus Tahir, urged the court to compel Metuh to close his defence.
Tahir alleged that Metuh, who commenced his defence since July 6, 2018, was deliberately stalling his trial with “irrelevant stories” that has no bearing to the charge against him.
Before that, Abang had adjourned the trial till March 4 for continuation.
EFCC had alleged that the said money was electronically wired from an account that ONSA operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to Metuh, through Account No. 0040437573, which his firm operated with Diamond Bank Plc.
The EFCC told the court that the fund which was released to Metuh and his firm by Dasuki was part of about $2.1 billion earmarked for the purchase of arms to fight an insurgency in the North-east.
Besides, the prosecution which had earlier closed its case after it called eight witnesses that testified before the court, equally alleged that Metuh was involved in an illicit transaction that involved the exchange of $2 million.