The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has insisted that the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, should not be stained in the ongoing arms deal scandal and would not be invited for questioning.
The EFCC took this stand to oppose the no-case submission filed by National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olisa Metuh before a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited, are being prosecuted by the EFCC on a seven count charge of fraudulently receiving N400 million meant for the procurement of arms from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, in November, 2014 and money laundering involving $2 million cash transaction.
The PDP spokesman in the no-case submission through his lead counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, argued that the prosecution could never have been able to make any case against him without the EFCC calling Jonathan as a witness in view of the testimony by the fifth prosecution witness, PW5.
According to him, the former president should be called by the prosecution to attest to the allegation by the Managing a Director of CMC Connect, Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, who testified that Metuh made presentation on a media campaign proposal to Jonathan and for which money was paid from the N400m.
Meanwhile, the EFCC in its response, which it filed on Tuesday through its lead prosecuting counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, urged the court to dismiss the no-case submission, insisting that Jonathan was not needed to prove its case.
It stated, “My Lord, in paragraphs 2.22 to 2.25, the defence also contends that the prosecution, through PW8 (EFCC’s investigative officer, Junaid Sa’id) failed to investigate the statement of the 1st defendant (Metuh) to the effect that presentation was made to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and that the sum for the exercise was paid into the 2nd defendant’s account (Metuh’s firm, Destra).
“It is further contended that the former President, to whom the presentation was made for which the payment was made, is therefore a material and indispensable person in order for a prima facie case to be established.
“Learned senior counsel (Metuh’s lawyer) therefore alleged presumption of withholding of evidence by the prosecution.
“In response to the above argument my lord, we submit that nothing can be farther from the truth. The defence cannot pick and choose witnesses for the prosecution and as rightly pointed out by the defence, the prosecution is not required to call a host of witnesses or a particular witness in proof of its case.
“What the law requires the prosecution to do is to call material witness(es) in proof of its case.”
Insisting that a “prima facie case of money laundering has been established” against the accused,” Tahir added,
“Your Lordship is further urged to dismiss or discountenance the no-case submission and call upon the defendants to enter their defence.”
Concerning counts one and two, Tahir argued that the evidence led by the prosecution was uncontroverted, “as it raises a prima facie case of taking possession and control of the stated sum (N400m) and therefore calls for an explanation by the defendants and this they can only do in their defence to the charge”.
On the other leg of the two counts, alleging that the N400 million was part of proceeds of alleged corrupt act of the immediate past NSA, Sambo Dasuki, the EFCC counsel asked whether it was not unlawful for the ex-NSA “to have, in breach of public trust reposed in him, misappropriated government funds in favour of the defendants, who on the evidence, had no contractual dealings with the ONSA”.
On count three in which Metuh and his firm were accused of retaining or concealing the sum of N400m, the EFCC argued that the accused “retained the sum of N400m on behalf of the PDP for its campaign activities by concealing the said sum in their Diamond Bank account.
It said Metuh ought to have known that the fund “directly represented the proceeds of an unlawful act” of the ex-NSA.
The EFCC stated, “The point to note in this transaction are the following, which are vital:
“The origin of the initial sum of $2m, which belongs to either of the defendants remained undocumented (which goes against the very essence of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, that is, financing terrorism and disguising, concealment or laundering the origin of illicit funds.”
The anti-graft agency added, “All the above points my lord, go to show the length to which the defendants went to conceal the origin of the $2 million.”