By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—Embattled National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, who is facing trial over alleged N400 million fraud, yesterday, prayed the Federal High Court in Abuja to allow the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, to stand surety for him.
Metuh is answering to a seven-count charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, proferred against him and his firm, Destra Investment Limited.
EFCC alleged that the defendants had prior to the 2015 presidential election, received N400m from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, without executing any contract.
It said the fund, which was released to Metuh and his firm by the erstwhile NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, retd, was part of about $2.1 billion earmarked for the purchase of arms to fight insurgency in the North East.
Meanwhile, at the resumed ‘hearing yesterday, Metuh, through his lawyer, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, notified the court of his intention to use Ekweremadu as one of his sureties.
He made the application on a day his former surety, Dr. Olugbumi Usim-Wilson, also applied to withdraw his services.
Usim-Wilson had in a motion dated October 4, prayed the court to expunge her name as Metuh’s surety and discharge her from further participation in the matter, though she did not give any reason behind her decision.
Metuh’s motion to replace her with Ekweremadu was dated October 14. Meanwhile, trial Justice Okon Abang has fixed October 27 to hear both motions.
Metuh had through his lawyer, Ikpeazu, SAN, pleaded the court to hear his own motion first.
Ikpeazu noted that hearing Dr. Usim-Wilson’s motion to withdraw as a surety in the matter first could warrant a revocation of the bail the court earlier granted his client.
He said the development could lead to Metuh being returned to prison custody.
In a short ruling, Justice Abang said he was minded to take Metuh’s motion first considering that he had been consistent to court.
“It is deserving to take that of Metuh first since he has been consistent in the trial.’
“This is because if that of the applicant is taken first, it means that Metuh will be going back to prison But if we take that of Metuh first, the substitution would have taken effect”, Justice Abang noted.