PDP's Olisa Metuh Bites The Dust

Embattled former spokesman of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, has today (Thursday) agreed to return the “contentious” N400m as a sign of support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti- corruption war. Chief Metuh made this known through his lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu
(SAN). The former PDP spokesman is facing trial at the federal high court, Abuja for allegedly receiving N400m — said to be part of funds earmarked for arms purchase — from Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser (NSA).

Chief Metuh who had prior to today, insisted that the money was given to him by former President Goodluck Jonathan for media campaigns ahead of the 2015
presidential election, but in a surprising volte-face today he is willing to
return the money as an honest citizen.

“In the light of the circumstances regarding the case of our client,
Chief Olisa Metuh with the Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission (EFCC), we want to explain the reasons for our
client’s proposal to refund the N400 million released to him by
former President Goodluck Jonathan, and which was expended on
a project approved by the ex-president on national issues relating
to his presidency and the federal government at that time,” the
statement read.

“We want to restate that at the time the money was released to
him after his presentation to the ex-president, our client had no
knowledge of the source, a fact that is now obvious from the
evidence of the prosecution and defence witnesses. Our client had
every cause to believe that the money was from the ex-president
to whom he made presentation, received directives and rendered
report and accounts accordingly.

“When the matter first came up and Chief Metuh was invited to the
Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in December 2015,
he requested to know the source of the money and expressed his
readiness to make refunds if it was from government coffers, not
minding that the money had been expended as directed by the
former President. Officials at ONSA never got back to him as they
promised, until his arrest by the EFCC in January 2016.

“It was however while in court that a document was brought
regarding the source of the money and since then, our client has
made manifest his willingness to refund the money and has indeed
approached his family, friends and associates to mobilise funds to
refund the entire N400 million to the government regardless of the
fact that the money had been expended based on the directives of
the former president and that part of the money had been
recovered from one of the prosecution witnesses.”

Metuh said that had been in “talks with the ministry of justice, the
EFCC and other necessary bodies on how to refund the money and
resolve the issue”.

“Our client occupied no government office. His commitment and
dedication to his official duties have been confirmed by even
prosecution witnesses. In this whole saga, he has been an
unfortunate victim of circumstances. His refunding the money
therefore goes 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,” read the statement.

“There is no doubt that the prosecution has considerably
embarked on some expenses in the course of this case. It is hoped
that by not discounting the sum already recovered, whatever cost
so far incurred would have been defrayed. By this, a critical
objective of recovery of funds would no doubt be achieved.

“It is pertinent to restate our client’s continued support for the anti-
corruption campaign, which is necessary to ensure probity in the
affairs of Nigeria to the extent that it is conducted within the rule of