Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja affirmed yesterday the order of subpoena compelling former President Goodluck Jonathan and a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, to appear in court today with respect to the trial of the National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olisa Metuh.
however, challenging the subpoena summoning him to appear in court today [Wednesday], Dasuki, through his lawyer, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), told the court on Tuesday that it would be self-incriminating for him if he was made to testify in the case.
Justice Abang, after hearing Raji as well as the prosecution and the defence, both of whom opposed Dasuki’s application on Tuesday, fixed Wednesday for ruling.
But the judge insisted that despite Dasuki’s opposition to the motion, he (the ex-NSA) and Jonathan must appear in court on Wednesday.
The judge ruled, “The outcome of the ruling will determine which step to take about the first subpoena (the one issue on Dasuki), but the orders compelling His Excellency, former President Goodluck Jonathan, and Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), to appear in court on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at the instance of the first defendant (Metuh) still stand.”
Justice Abang had issued separate subpoenas on Jonathan and Dasuki upon applications by Metuh, who had requested the two men to testify in his defence in his ongoing trial.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited, on seven counts of money laundering involving alleged cash transaction of $2m and fraudulent receipt of N400m meant for procurement of arms from the Office of the NSA.
The prosecution alleged in the charges that Metuh and his firm used the N400m for the PDP’s campaign activities during the 2015 presidential election.
The sum of N400m was alleged to be “part of the proceeds of unlawful activities” of the immediate past NSA, Dasuki.
So far, most of the defence witnesses, including Mr. Ben Nwosu, who ended his testimony earlier on Monday, had insisted that the sum of N400m paid to the ex-spokesperson for the PDP from the Office of the NSA in November 2014, the money being part of the case against Metuh, was directly authorised by Jonathan.
The defence legal team had insisted that given the roles which Jonathan and Dasuki played in the N400m transaction, both men were needed as witnesses in the case.
Justice Abang, during the resumed hearing on Tuesday confirmed The PUNCH’s exclusive story published on Tuesday that he (the judge) had, in his chambers after the Monday’s proceedings, signed the subpoena to be served on Jonathan.
Confirming the issuance of the subpoena, Justice Abang said on Tuesday that he received Metuh’s application for the summons to be served on the ex-President at about 3.59pm on Monday.
The judge said, “Indeed, at the close of business yesterday (Monday) being October 23, 2017 precisely at about 3.59pm, the registrar forwarded to the court in chamber a subpoena to compel former President Goodluck Jonathan to appear in court to testify at the instance of the first defendant (Metuh).
“Therefore, in line with Section 241(1) of Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, and having regard to the subsisting judgment of the Court of Appeal in the appeal, CA/A/159C/2017, between Olisa Metuh and the Federal Republic of Nigeria dated September 29, 2017 to the effect that it will be tantamount to violating the right of the first defendant (Metuh) to fair hearing not to sign the subpoena, I have no option but to sign a subpoena to compel former President Goodluck Jonathan to appear in court on October 25, 2017 (Wednesday) to give evidence at the instance of the first defendant.”
But while being interrogated by the judge on Tuesday, a registrar of the court said the bailiff of the court had yet to serve the subpoena on Jonathan as of Tuesday morning.
The court official said the bailiff could not be reached after the judge signed the subpoena late on Monday.
He said the bailiff had therefore promised to pick up the subpoena for service on Jonathan on Tuesday.