Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Publicity Secretary Olisah Metuh told a Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday that he intends to apply to the court to compel ex-President Goodluck Jonathan to testify as a defence witness in his trial.
Lawyer to Metuh, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), told the court that a letter was written to Jonathan on the issue, but since he did not respond, his client intends to apply to the court for a subpoena to be issued on the ex-President to testify for him and his company, Destra Investment Limited.
Ikpeazu said this in the course of proceedings in the case yesterday.
He said aside former National Security Adviser (NSA), Mohammed Sambo Dasuki, on whom a subpoena had been issued, his client also intends to apply for a witness summons to be issued on Jonathan.
After Ikpeazu’s submission, the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, invited a lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN), who had announced his appearance for Dasuki (who though not a party in the trial, filed a motion in the case) to mention the motion he filed for his client.
Raji said his client’s motion on notice dated and filed on October 20 seeks an order to set aside the issuance and service of the subpoena ad testificandum (witness summons) issued by the court for the purpose of compelling Dasuki to give evidence in the case.
He said his client seeks, in the alternative, an order suspending “execution or further execution of the subpoena ad testificandum” pending his release from the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).
In a copy of the motion sighted by The Nation in Abuja yesterday, Dasuki argued that he could not be compelled to testify in Metuh’s trial because he had been in DSS’s custody since December 2015 and was no longer in the right frame of mind to remember all that transpired while he was the NSA.
He said despite being admitted to bail in the three charges filed against him, coupled with a judgment of the Community Court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) ordering the Nigerian government to grant him freedom to enable him prepare for his trial, the Nigerian authorities has remained defiant.
Dasuki, who noted that issues in the charges against him and the one on which he had been summoned to testify (Metuh’s trial) were similar, as they revolve decisions he took while in office, said he could hardly remember what transpired then because he has not had access to his files and documents relating to his days in office.
He said he was presently challenging the propriety of his continued detention before the Supreme Court and would prefer to await the outcome of the appeal, else it would appear as if he was preempting his appeal.
When asked by the judge if they were served with the motion by Dasuki and whether they were opposed to it, prosecution lawyer, Sylvanus Tahir, Ikpeazu and lawyer to Destra, Tochukwu Onwugbufor (SAN), acknowledged being served yesterday morning. But they said they needed time to respond to it.
Ruling, Justice Abang said he has signed the subpoena issued in relation to Dasuki in line with the September 29 judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja on the appeal by Metuh.
The appellate court, in the judgment, set aside Justice Abang’s decision that Dasuki was not a compellable witness, ordered him to sign the subpoena and directed the Director General of the DSS to produce Dasuki at Metuh’s trial on a date to be fixed by the trial court.
Yesterday, Justice Abang said he has slated October 25 for the DSS DG to produce Dasuki in court.
The judge said at the resumption of proceedings today, he will allow Tahir, Ikpeazu and Onwugbufor to make oral submissions in the response to the motion by Dasuki.
He ordered the first defendant (Metuh), who concluded with his seventh witness yesterday, to call other witnesses today, except Dasuki, who is expected to appear before the court tomorrow.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited, on seven counts of fraud and money laundering.