Olisa Metuh, the former National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 told a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, how he spent an alleged N400 million traced to him as proceed of money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
According to Metuh, while testifying before Justice Okon Abang, said “We leased an office through the late Chief Tony Anene, amounting to N25million. He requested for cash payment and over N21Million was made in cheque in his name and delivered to him. The office was fully furnished with state -of –the- art -computers, internet facility, two brand new generators and staff had 24-hours access to the office daily”.
He further revealed that N37million was used for media engagements and meetings with editors in Nigeria, adding that expenditures on analysts, content developers, core staff and support staff hired for the purpose of the assignment amounted to N13million, “while CNC connect one of the consulting firms came to N7million”, he said.
He also revealed that workshops and perception management campaign cost N23million and that N10million was spent on new media, while the production of materials, appearances on radio and other media services gulped N15million.
According to Metuh who is the first defendant in the matter, the cost of security, transportation, hotel allowances amongst others amounted to N47million. He said that the total amount spent in the South- south zone was N55million, while the Northern zone, handled by the late Tony Anene amounted to N97million with an additional N1.4million which was used for procurement of public address systems.
Metuh further told the court that the amount spent in the South-east region amounted to N40.4million, while honorarium for different recruited persons cost N200, 000 each adding that there were 57 of them.
While concluding his witness, Metuh said that a total sum of N421million was expended on supposed national assignment, as contained in exhibits before the court.
Recall that Metuh is being prosecuted by the, EFCC, for allegedly receiving N400million from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, in 2014 to run advocacy campaign for former President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of the 2015 general elections.
During the continuation of his trial today, which had suffered many adjournments, Metuh accused the EFCC of engaging in media frenzy since his arrest in 2015. He added that he refused to provide a list which contains names of those he gave monies while executing the national assignment given to him by the former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“The whole issue borders on the investigation activities of EFCC, they requested that I provide the names of those I disbursed the monies to, I refused to discuss that with them, because I knew it was going to be a subject of media frenzy,” he said.
He said his story attracted several malicious newspaper headlines, adding further that the headlines presented him to be the one who embezzled the alleged N400m security funds.
While being led in evidence, the defendant denied making any payment through one Nneka Ararume (staff of ARM Pension) to Kabiru Ibrahim, a Bureau De Change operator. This was in response to the allegation that he gave $1m (One Million United States Dollar) to the BDC operator for the purpose of investment. Both had testified as prosecution witnesses before today’s trial.
“I did not make any payment of $1m to Kabiru Ibrahim through Nneka Ararume. Ararume has never acted as my agent in this transaction or any other, she is a staff of ARM”, he added.
Meanwhile, at the last sitting on May 24, 2019, the defendant during his examination stated that the national assignment given to him by Goodluck Jonathan has nothing to do with his party activities.
He further informed the court that it wasn’t his first time of executing a national assignment for a president adding that he was also able to execute a national assignment for former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Justice Abang there after adjourned the matter to June10 and 11, for cross-examination of the witness.