Overrules Justice Abang, orders DSS to produce ex-NSA in court
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri, Abuja
The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, on Friday, ordered the Department of State Service, DSS, to produce detained former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, rtd, in court to testify as a witness in the ongoing trial of erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh.
The appellate court made the order after it upheld an appeal Metuh filed to challenge refusal of trial Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja to sign a subpoena that would compel DSS to release Dasuki to appear as his witness. Metuh is answering to a seven-count charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him and his firm, Destra Investment Limited.
The anti-graft agency alleged that the defendants had before the 2015 presidential election, received N400million 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 $2.1billion earmarked for the purchase of arms to fight insurgency in the North East.
FG has already closed its case against the defendants after it produced eight witnesses before the trial court.
However, Metuh, who has already opened his defence, pleaded the court to order DSS to produce Dasuki to mount the witness box.
Metuh maintained that Dasuki was a key element in the charge against him, saying his appearance was critical for the case of the defendants.
Meanwhile, Justice Abang, in a ruling he delivered on February 23, rejected Metuh’s request.
The trial judge held that the defendants should rather forward their request to the DSS which has Dasuki in its custody.
Dissatisfied with the decision, Metuh took the case before the appellate court where he won on Friday.
In a unanimous judgement delivered by its three-man panel, the appellate court faulted Justice Abang who it said erred in law by refusing to sign the subpoena the defendants filed to secure Dasuki’s presence in the matter.
Consequently, in its lead verdict that was prepared and read by Justice Peter Ige, the appellate court, directed Justice Abang to not only sign the subpoena, but to equally fix a dates the DSS must produce Dasuki in court to testify on behalf of the defendants.
The appellate court also ordered the DSS to release Dasuki immediately it is served with the subpoena.
EFCC had in the charge, alleged that the N400m was electronically wired from an account ONSA operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to Metuh, via account no. 0040437573, which his firm operated with Diamond Bank Plc.
However, Metuh insisted that the money he got was on the order of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
The former PDP spokesman, through witnesses he produced before the court, admitted that the fund was allocated to his office for media campaigns.
He prayed the court to allow Dasuki to appear as the 7th defence witness (DW-7), to further explain circumstances surrounding the fund he got before the election.
Meanwhile, Metuh earlier wrote a letter to the DSS, asking it to produce Dasuki who has been in its custody since December 29, 2015, to appear before the trial court.
The letter which was sighted by Vanguard, entitled ‘Re: Further Notice to Produce Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) Before the Federal High Court Coram; Hon Justice Okon Abang on June 20, 2017’, was signed by Metuh’s lawyer, Mr. Emeka Etiaba, SAN, and forwarded to the Director General of the DSS, Mr. Lawal Daura.
It read: “May we by this letter inform you Sir, that the trial between the Federal Republic of Nigeria Vs Chief Olisa Metuh & Anor in Charge No. FHC/Abj/CR/2016, continues tomorrow 20/6/2017 at 9am prompt.
“Pursuant to the earlier letter written with respect to the production of the former NSA, Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) in court to testify on behalf of Chief Olisa Metuh, we inform you that his presence shall be needed tomorrow before the Federal High Court. We thank you for your cooperation”.
Metuh equally copied the letter to the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Cour