The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to revoke the bail being enjoyed by a former Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, and send him to prison.
Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited, are being prosecuted on seven counts, including receiving fraudulently the sum of N400m from the Office of the National Security Adviser in 2014.
The charges also include the allegations that the ex-spokesperson for the PDP transacted with $2m cash which was said to be above the threshold of cash payment prescribed by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
Metuh, who was said to be on admission at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State, was earlier absent from court on Monday.
Following his absence from court again on Tuesday, EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, applied that Metuh be sent to jail and made to attend his trial from prison.
Tahir, while reacting to Metuh’s lawyer’s application for further adjournment on Tuesday, faulted the January 21, 2018 medical report of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State, sent to the court indicating that the defendant was on admission for treatment for an ailment.
The prosecutor argued that without the medical report backed by a verifying affidavit and without the document making any reference to the case pending in court, the report was nothing but a trash that should be consigned to the dustbin.
He urged the court to reject the request of the defence for an investigation into the authenticity of the letter, adding that a fresh application by Metuh to call 10 additional witnesses for his defence, was part of his plan to get the trial stalled.
He, therefore, said the steps taken by Metuh had undermined the administration of criminal justice deserving the revocation of the bail granted the defendant.
He said, “The court should decline the invitation to order investigation into the veracity of the letter. There is no basis for that. There is no basis to suggest that the court must believe this letter.”The letter is not attached to an affidavit. How will the prosecution investigate the document?
“There is no reference to the pending charge before this honourable charge.
“Having regard to the absence of the first defendant from court yesterday and today for inexplicable reasons and also having regard to the fact that he is enjoying the bail of this court and has taken steps to undermine and jeopardise the full objectives the full purpose of bail in the administration of criminal justice, the prosecution is constrained to apply for the revocation of the bail of the first defendant pursuant to sections 173(b) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and section 169 of the same Act.
“It follows without mention that we are vehemently opposed to application for adjournment. And we pray this honourable court to revoke the bail granted to the first defendant and commit him to prison until the conclusion of his trial. Once the bail is revoked, he will be attending his trial from the prisons.”
But Metuh’s lawyer, Dr. Oneychi Ikpeazu (SAN), urged the court to dismiss the application for bail revocation.
He also urged the court to adjourn the trial till a period after the end of the week, promising that Metuh would be in court by then.
Ikpeazu said, “My learned friend has not filed a motion for the revocation of the bail granted by this honourable court.
“Counsel cannot rightly submit that a letter should have been brought by an affidavit evidence and so should be disregarded, and then turn around to found his application for the revocation of the bail on the same letter, which he claimed should not be before the court.
“Another point he made was that there is an application to call additional witnesses. Even if, without conceding, that he can make an oral application, the first defendant’s application has not been moved by anybody. He can not say that the application will be moved. He cannot again pre-empt if there is merit in the application.
“Therefore my lord, my learned friend has not placed any material before the court on why the bail granted by my lord after an extensive application should simply just be revoked.
“The essential facts to support such revocation must deal with the facts that the defendant is a flight risk, he is interfering with witnesses of the prosecution or interfering with due administration of justice.”
Nigeria Police law obsolete, existing since 1943 – Senator
By Sarauniya G Usman, Abuja
Sen. Bala Na’Allah, the Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate on Monday said the nation was operating an obsolete Nigeria Police law, which had been in existence since 1943.
Na’Allah said this at a dialogue session with the National Assembly and Stakeholders on Police Reform and Police Bill organised by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) in Abuja.
He said that was why he decided to sponsor the Police Reform Bill to make the police to be abreast with global best practice.
He said that the bill had passed second reading and was currently at the committee level and hopefully, public hearing would be conducted, then senate would consider the report within the next 30 days.
“The Nigeria police force is always critisised for not delivering on their responsibility; as a party that promised to leave Nigeria more secured than it met it, we decided to initiate this reform.
“We are not too comfortable with the situation where only the few get good security while the larger population is left at their own peril.
“So we decided that let us look at what happens around the world and check what is wrong with our own system.
“We discovered that the structure of the Nigerian police will never ever give it the kind of efficiency and effectiveness that it requires to be able to secure the population of Nigeria .’’
Na’Allah said that was the reason for the reforms to bring sufficient funding, and localise the operation of the police in such a manner that every community would be secured based on international best practice.
He said that the reform when passed would enhance the coverage of the police to the grassroots and enable them carry out their duties without boundaries.
“If you are travelling on the road, and you are robbed at the border between one police station and another, the police will proudly tell you that it is not under their jurisdiction.
“Yet we have one Nigerian police, so how can it be that when something is happening somebody will say it is not under our jurisdiction? That is not done anywhere in the civilised world,’’he said.
Na’Allah said that the police reform would ensure that every citizen in need of help got it and there would no more be the issue of bringing police report before treating gunshot patients.
He said that an elaborate provision was being made including constituting a police committee to receive complaints from the public and deal with it decisively.
Mr Lawal Abubakar, the Chairman House Committee on Police Affairs, said that the bill was going for public hearing, adding that it would change the narrative of the activities of the police.
Abubakar called for the input of citizens and the police to enrich the reform process and produce a bill that would stand the taste of time to face the contemporary Nigerian challenges.
The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, who was represented by CP Adat Ududo, CP Admin, Research and Planning Department commended National Assembly for the reform.
Idris advised that the issue of funding and manpower should be taken into consideration.
Mr Clement Nwankwo, the Executive Director, PLAC said that the event was organised to essentially to look at the bill of the reform of the police.
Nwankwo said that Nigeria was operating a 1943 law guiding the operations and the work of the police thus the reason for the review, especially in the light of new circumstances.
“Operating a Nigerian police with 1943 law is certainly unacceptable so we need to bring the legal framework guiding the creation operation and functions of the police in the modern times.
“This will be the first time that the 1943 law will be considered for a reform so certainly it is important for us to get the police law reformed.
“We hope that this is the huge opportunity everybody takes advantage of to ensure that we bring our law into conformity with modern times.’’
Nwankwo said that the law when passed, would create a well funded police that would be accountability to ensure that police respect human lives among other things.
2019 presidency: How we’ll stop APC from rigging election – Atiku’s camp
The Atiku Campaign Organisation has said that the People Democratic Party, PDP, Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, will defeat President Muhammadu Bubari in the forthcoming general election with a wide margin to make it difficult for the ruling party to attempt rigging.
Spokesman of the campaign team, Segun Sowunmi also revealed on Monday in Abuja that the PDP campaign team will not exercise any form of fear going into the February presidential election.
Speaking at the public presentation of a book, “The man Atiku Abubakar, a square peg in a square hole; 100 reasons to vote,” Sowunmi said the insinuations in some quarters that the ruling party will rig the coming election should be dismissed.
“They say they will rig in 2019 but I tell them, it is only when we don’t beat them with a wide margin. We will beat them with a wide margin and make it impossible for them to rig in 2019.”
According to Sowunmi, Atiku will not spend one day as president wasting time, even as the PDP administration will not bring indolent with him when he emerges the next president.
He urged the Atiku support group to tak the message to the people across the country on the need to rescue the country from the hands of the current handlers.
Meanwhile, the PDP has, however, expressed willingness to sign Peace Accord between major political parties and major contenders as it is being canvassed by the European Union and other countries ahead of 2019 general elections.
Speaking on the need for the Peace Accord, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbodiyan, said, “We will support peace accord between major political parties and between major contenders. The People Democratic Party is open to that because we are a party of peace. We are a democratic party, who believe in the tenets of democracy, rule of law, justice, freedom, these are what make us a democratic party.
“If there is any group or a group of Nations that are canvassing that we should allow peace to reign during the election, surely the PDP will abide by that.”
He called on INEC to allow for a free, fair and credible election.
“I want to assure because Nigerians are sick and tired of the hunger, starvation, denial that the All Progressives Congress has imposed on Nigerians we plead with INEC to allow for a free, fair, credible and transparent elections in 2019.
“We also want them to take a lesson from our National Convention in Pirt Harcourt, which was adjudged as one of the best in the political history of our country. It was civil, it was clean, it was clear, it was transparent and it was generally acceptable by all the aspirants.
“So we look forward to INEC holding Nigeria elections that will generally accepted by the majority of parties and the majority of Nigerians.”
Sex-for-mark: OAU professor lands in prison
A Federal High Court in Osun has remanded an Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Lecturer, Prof. Richard Akindele, in Ilesa prison custody, for allegedly demanding sex for mark from his student.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Maureen Onyetenu ordered the remand on Monday pending the filing of his formal bail application.
Mr Kehinde Adedoye, the Independent Corrupt Practise and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Prosecutor, had told the court that the defendant had on Sept. 16, 2017 unlawfully demanded sexual benefits for marks from Monica Osagie.
According to the prosecutor, the defendant is facing a four-count charge.
“The defendant corruptly asked for sexual benefits from Ms Monica Osagie on account of favour to be afterwards shown to her in the discharge of his official duties as a lecturer, to wit: altering her academic grades from fail to pass in the course, MBA 632 – Research Method,” he said.
The offences, he said, contravened Sections 8 (1) (A) (2) and 18 (d) of the corrupt practices and other related offenses Act 2000 and punishable under same sections.
NAN reports that the defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him.
The Defense Counsel, Mr Fola Omotoso, thereafter, prayed the court to grant his client bail in the most liberal terms.
The ICPC counsel, however, opposed the bail application, noting that the defendant had refused to appear before the commission since he was granted administrative bail.
Onyetenu, therefore, ordered the defense counsel to file a formal bail application before the next date of adjournment.
The trial judge adjourned the matter till Nov. 27 for definite hearing and ordered the remand of the defendant.
NAN reports that the defendant is a lecturer in the Department of Management and Accounting of the university.
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