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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

UPDATES: Olisa Metuh Gets N400 Million Bail

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday, January 19, granted the national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh bail.

At his ruling, the judge presiding over the case, Okon Abang said the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

“I have again carefully considered the provision of section 162 ofthe act and the counter affidavit by the respondent,” Abang said.
He also said that the truth of the allegation that Metuh tore his statement while under detention is yet to be ascertained.
Abang continued: “The court of law cannot act on speculation. The allegations against the applicant by the EFCC cannot be used to deny the defendant bail.
Conditions for the bail include: a bail bond of N400 million, two sureties, who must be resident in Abuja and owners of property in Maitama, Abuja with statutory registration of occupancy.
The certificate of occupancy must be verified by the chief judge of the Federal High Court.
Abang also ordered that the EFCC must within 24 hours verify the property in writing to the court.
The sureties must also deposit his three years tax clearance to the court, an affidavit of means and two passport photographs.
Metuh is also expected to deposit his travel passport with the court.
The judge however in his ruling refused to grant bail to Metuh based on self-recognizance.
He said this is an effort by the court to balance arguments by both parties.
At resumption of the matter, the defending counsel, Chris Uche said: “My Lord it may be pertinent to note that the respondent made a very vague allegation that the defendant tore some pages of his statement.
He further noted that the EFCC since making its allegation have failed to produce evidence of the torn statements before the court.
He also said that the EFCC had in paragraph 5 of their pool of evidence noted that investigation into Metuh’s matter has been “substantially concluded”.
Citing Section 162 of the Administrative Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) said a respondent shall file a charge only when the investigation is concluded.
He also said that however, the charge brought before the court by the commission is a bailable offence.
He prayed the court to passionately consider the application.
Uche said: “My lord even court have given bail to Dasuki who is said to be the source of the money and even Dokpesi; people whose money is more than our own.”
He further said his client is a well known Nigerian, being represented by very senior legal representatives and will not jump bail.
He also said that the second prayer of the applicant is a consequential relief backed by the primary relief.
He said the relief is to protect any other made by the court and also avoid any form of ridicule to the orders of the court.
“My lord, the practice these days is when an accused person is brought before the court and granted bail a fresh charge arises and re-arrested,” Uche said.
He urged the court to add a directive that will protect the dignity of the court.
He also decried the state at which Metuh was brought into the court.
“My lord, the accused was brought here in handcuffs. The last time he was not brought in handcuffs, did he run?” Uche asked.
He said the country is not under military rule and thus no need for such actions.
EFCC counsel, Sylvanus Tahir in his objection said the application by the accused person lacks necessary materials.
He said the charges are offences punishable with a minimum of three years imprisonment.
Tahir, citing the section 162 paragraph C of the ACJA asked the court to take into cognizant the tendency that if granted bail, the applicant might jump bail.

He also reiterated that the applicant had torn and tried to chew a statement he had written to the commission before his arraignment.
He said all seven charges against Metuh is based on money laundering and related offences.
Objecting to the applicants prayer for a directive against the commission if court orders are flouted, Tahit said that other offences maybe unearthed during the course of investigation.
He said granting Metuh bail will also amount to interference with ongoing investigation by the anti-graft agency.
Metuh is accused of having collected N400 million from former president Goodluck Jonathan by the EFCC.
The accused having accepted receiving such money from Jonathan has however refused to disclose details of the assignments he did for the former president.
Metuh has been in detention since Tuesday, January 5 and was also reported to have torn and chewed a statement he wrote at the EFCC.