TIMELINE: From stretcher to ambulance — Metuh’s long journey to prison | Nigerian News. Latest Nigeria News. Your online Nigerian Newspaper. f


On Tuesday, a federal high court in Abuja found Olisa Metuh, a former spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), guilty of money laundering.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Metuh on seven counts of money laundering for allegedly receiving N400 million from the office of the national security adviser.
His company, Destra Investment Limited, was liquidated as the EFCC told the court that it was used to launder funds.
Metuh’s attempt to travel abroad for medical treatment failed several times, despite presenting medical reports, appearing in court in a stretcher, wheelchair and even “fainting” before proceedings.
Although Metuh once offered to return the alleged stolen funds, he maintained that Goodluck Jonathan, the former president authorised Sambo Dasuki, the former NSA, to give him the contract for the provision of “security services”.
At a stage in the trial, Onyechi Ikpeazu, Metuh’s counsel, withdrew his appearance from the case, stating that his life was under threat.
Here is a timeline of how events unfolded:
January 5, 2016: The EFCC invited Metuh to its office for questioning for allegedly collecting N400 million from Sambo Dasuki, a former national security adviser.
January 15, 2016: A federal high court, Abuja, remanded Metuh in Kuje Prison after he was arraigned alongside Destra Investment LTD, his firm, on a 7-count charge of fraud.
January 19, 2016: Metuh was granted N400 million bail with two sureties who must deposit the sum of N200 million each.
January 26, 2016: The EFCC presented its first witness. Nneka Ararume, the witness narrated how Metuh allegedly gave her $2 million in cash to help him change into the naira equivalent and deposit into his company’s account.
February 4, 2016: Abba Dabo, the seventh prosecution witness, told the court that he deposited to the EFCC, the N25 million Metuh paid to him on December 16, 2014. He said he returned the money after discovering it came from the defence budget.
February 24, 2016: Metuh argued his no-case submission which he premised on the grounds that ex-President Goodluck Jonathan was not called as a witness.
March 9, 2016: Court dismissed Metuh’s suit challenging his detention by the EFCC, stating that the commission has powers to arrest and detain him.
March 17, 2016: Metuh asked Ibrahim Auta, chief judge of the federal high court, to withdraw his case from Okon Abang, the presiding judge and re-assign it to another judge. He said they were classmates at the Nigerian Law School.
March 24, 2016: Metuh filed two applications, one asking Abang to disqualify himself from further presiding over his trial and the second asking the court to adjourn to enable the court of appeal rule on his application for stay of proceedings in his trial. Metuh said he had a long-standing “frosty relationship” with Abang.
March 28, 2016: Abang denied knowing Olisa Metuh before the PDP spokesperson’s trial started in his court.
April 8, 2016: The chief judge dismissed Metuh’s petition seeking the transfer of his trial from Abang to another judge.
May 19, 2016: Metuh prayed the court for the release of his passport to enable him to travel to the United Kingdom for medical treatment.
May 24, 2016: Onyechi Ikpeazu while explaining his client’s absence said the defendant was placed on bed rest at the national hospital, Abuja, and that his health had deteriorated. The judge faulted the medical report.
May 25, 2016: The court of appeal in Abuja dismissed the former PDP spokesman’s appeal for a no-case submission.
May 25, 2016: The court refused to release Metuh’s passport.
May 26, 2016: Metuh’s family released a statement saying their son was ready to refund the N400 million he allegedly collected from the office of the former national security adviser.
May 27, 2016: Metuh’s counsel said his client wrote a letter to the EFCC offering to refund the N400 million allegedly received in November 2014.
May 30, 2016: The Lagos chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party asked Mahmud Mohammed, then the chief justice of Nigeria, to look into the continuous refusal of travel request to the party’s for national spokesperson,
June 10, 2016: Metuh was absent in court while his lawyer tendered a letter from Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) dated June 8, 2016, stating that he was under observation in the hospital.
June 30, 2016: Metuh, in a statement issued by his lawyer, said he was ready to refund the entire money “to show his support for the anti-corruption war as well as serve as a testament to his sincerity, integrity and honesty in this matter”.
October 17, 2016: Olugbumi Usim-Wilson filed an application to withdraw as a surety to Metuh. The ex-PDP spokesman then filed an application praying the court to allow him replace Usim-Wilson with Ike Ekweremadu, former deputy senate president.
February 23, 2017: Abang struck out Metuh’s application seeking to compel the detained former NSA to appear in court as a defence witness. The judge also dismissed the application seeking an order for the release of his passport to enable him to travel for medical treatment.
June 9, 2017: The supreme court dismissed Metuh’s appeal on having another judge, for lack of merit, ordering Abang to continue with the trial.
September 30, 2017: The appeal court ordered DSS to produce Dasuki to testify in defence of the former PDP spokesman and directed the trial judge to sign the filed subpoena.
October 23, 2017: Dasuki asked the court to set aside the subpoena served on him to testify in Metuh’s defence. Metuh also made known his intention to subpoena Jonathan as his defence witness
October 23, 2017: Abang signed the subpoena ordering Jonathan to appear before the court on October 25, 2017.
October 30, 2017: Jonathan asked the court to set aside the subpoena ordering him to appear as a witness for Metuh. Alternatively, the ex-president asked for an order directing Metuh to pay him N1 billion for travelling expenses.
November 1, 2017: DSS produced Dasuki in compliance with a court order. The former NSA told the court that he no longer remembers the details of the N400 million he gave to the former PDP spokesman.
January 12, 2018: The supreme court dismissed an appeal filed by Metuh’s company, challenging the jurisdiction of the federal high court to hear the case.
January 22, 2018: Metuh was absent on the grounds of ill health. His counsel told the court that he had been admitted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra state.
January 25, 2018: Court ordered Metuh to be in court on February 5, 2018, or risk going to prison. Abang also rejected a letter from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, indicating that Metuh was on admission at the health facility.
February 5, 2018: Metuh was brought into the court in an ambulance.
February 6, 2018: The house of representatives urged the attorney general of the federation, Abubakar Malami, to allow Metuh to seek medical treatment abroad.
February 9, 2018: The supreme court dismissed the appeal of Metuh on no-case submission, ruling that he had a case to answer in respect of the money laundering charges.
March 4, 2018: Metuh filed another application seeking permission to be allowed to travel abroad for medical treatment.
May 21, 2018: Olisa Metuh “collapsed” as he made his way to the dock. His lawyer announced withdrawal from the case but the judge insisted that the trial would continue.
May 25, 2018: The court closed the defence “for want of diligent prosecution.”
June 10, 2018: Metuh filed another application before the court of appeal praying to withdraw his trial from Abang and to another judge.
July 3, 2018: The court reopened Metuh’s defence and also ordered for the arraignment of three Channels TV reporters for comments made on “Sunrise Daily”, a breakfast programme of the station, by one of Metuh’s lawyer, Ben Nwosu, in respect of the trial.
November 27, 2018: Metuh accused the EFCC of freezing all his bank accounts.
January 30, 2019: Again, court dismissed Metuh’s application to travel overseas for medical attention.
March 5, 2019: Onyechi Ikpeazu, Metuh’s lead counsel, submitted an application seeking withdrawal from the case stating “immense pressure”.
March 13, 2019: A new lawyer took over Metuh’s defence.
October 3, 2019: Metuh closed his defence
November 27, 2019: Parties in the case adopted their final written addresses. The court fixed February 25, 2020, for judgment.

February 25, 2020: Metuh was convicted and sentenced to 39 years imprisonment.

culled: TheCable

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