Ex-spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Olisa Metuh says he did not intend to humiliate ex-President Goodluck Jonathan by compelling him to testify as defence witness in his trial.
Metuh said his choice of Jonathan as a witness is for the ex-President to corroborate his argument that he is innocent of the allegations against him in the charges on which he is being tried.
He denied allegation by a group, Save Ijaw Nation Group, that the subpoena issued on Jonathan was part of a plot to let him (Metuh) off the hook.
Metuh, in a statement issued yesterday, said he has no reason to connive with anyone to embarrass Jonathan or seek to be let of the hook, because he was not in any hook and was innocent of all allegations against him.
In the statement, Metuh said: “It is, therefore, inconceivable and completely ridiculous for anybody to think that I would for any reason betray or surrender myself to be used against President Goodluck Jonathan, for whom I have immense respect and served diligently, without any apologies, in and out of office.
“To what end will I conspire with the same set of people, who singled me out to be humiliated and openly handcuffed, while spreading all manner of malicious stories against me, most of which they even denied outright in court while others remain completely unsubstantiated?
“Ordinarily, the content of the charge against me in the Federal High Court should not breed any worries but for the fact that it now appears that the anti-corruption fight has shifted the burden of proof to a defendant once an allegation is made.
“On the issue of conniving with the government against former President Goodluck Jonathan, the Save Ijaw Nation Group may be alarmed by successive media reports that he was ordered to be served on Tuesday with an instruction to appear the following day and subsequently given a five-day time limit; setting off a media frenzy as if the former president is needed for reasons more than a mere request by my lawyers for a corroborative evidence in my case.
“I totally concede that this is not deserving of the status, person and image of the former President, especially with his contribution and sacrifices to national development and sustenance of democracy in our dear country.
“Without prejudice to all the foregoing, I accept that it was the need for corroboration of lack of mens rea on my part that led my lawyers to request for the evidence of the respected former President to assist them in proving my innocence.
“However, with all the controversies arising from the reports of the said pronouncements and the attendant concerns thereof, I have instructed my legal team to revisit and review the entire issue of the subpoena.”
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited, before the Federal High Court, Abuja on a seven-count charge of money laundering involving alleged cash transaction of $2 million and fraudulent receipt of N400 million meant for procurement of arms from the Office of the NSA.
The EFCC alleged that Metuh and his firm used the N400 million for PDP’s campaign activities during the 2015 presidential election.
Metuh, who is presently conducting his defence in the case, applied to the court to issue subpoena on Jonathan and Dasuki to compel them to testify as his witnesses in the trial.