By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has sentenced the former National Publicity Secretary of the People Democratic Party(PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh to seven years in prison.
Chief Metuh was found guilty of the seven-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N400million leveled against him by the federal government.
He was also convicted for involving in an illicit transaction that involved the exchange of $2million, in violation of extant financial regulations.
Justice Abang in his judgement also ordered Metuh to pay a total sum of N375million to the coffers of the Federal Government.
The court also held that the Firm Destra investment Ltd should pay 25million to the government, adding that the company be wound up with all funds standing to its credit forfeited to the government.
Breaking down the sentences, the court held that the counts 1, 2, 4 and 7 of the charge carries seven years, the count handed him five years on count 3, three years on count 5 and 6.
However, the court held that the sentences will run concurrently for seven years staring from today.
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 in the buildup of 2015 general election.
In his defense, Metuh maintained that he was unaware that the N400 million formed part of the proceeds of crime.
He said as of the time the money was paid into his account in November 2014, there was no criminal charge against Dasuki regarding the money.
He claimed that he did not know that the money paid into the account was from the office of the national security adviser.
He insisted that it was the former President Goodluck Jonathan, who authorised the payment of N400m for him to carry out issues of national importance.
However, justice Abang in his judgement held, “I have my doubts if the first defendant is telling the truth in this matter.”
The judge said Metuh must have received a bank alert notifying him of the transaction, and the the prosecution had also tendered the notice of alert (exhibit D28) as evidence before the court.
“It is in my firmed view that as at November 24, 2014, the first defendant had actual knowledge of the inflow from ONSA in the account of the second defendant,” Abang held.
Abang held that Metuh’s evidence was not corroborated by the former president who refused to come to court to give evidence despite being subpoenaed. He said even Dasuki who came to court to testify as a witness claimed to have lost his memory.
“I think the prosecution has proved the ingredients as regards count one,” he said.
“The first defendant is hereby found guilty of count one and accordingly convicted.
Abang held that Metih’s claim that the N400m was for national assignment was false!
‘’ The defendant did not place any material before the court that the former president sends him on a national assignment.
‘’I thereby convict the 1st defendant on the count four. I found him guilty of the count.
Reacting shortly after the sentencing, counsel to Metuh, Abel Ozioko said they are going to appeal the ruling of the lower court.