Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, says Olisa Metuh, former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) is being tried for defrauding Nigeria of the sum of N1.4 billion naira.
Mohammed said this when he held a press conference in Lagos on Friday, 30th March 2018. He mentioned this in response to PDP’s daring of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to mention names of those it believed to have looted the country’s treasury.
“Well, I am sure they know that the treasury was looted dry under their watch. Yet they decided to grandstand. Let’s just give them a teaser with this list: PDP Chairman, Uche Secondus, on the 19th of February, 2015, he took N200m only from the office of the then National Security Adviser…the then National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, on trial for collecting N1.4bn from the office of the then NSA”, he said.
- Olisa Metuh is on trial for collecting N1.4bn from the office of the then National Security Adviser (NSA).
VERIFICATION OF CLAIMS:
While it is true that Olisa Metuh is on trial for allegedly collecting money from Sambo Dasuki, former NSA, it is not true that the amount he was accused of collecting is N1.4 billion. According to information on the official website of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Metuh is alleged to have received N400 million from Dasuki, from funds meant for arms procurement. The spokesperson for the EFCC, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, also spoke to Dubawa staff and he confirmed the amount as N400 million. This is way lower than the amount Lai Mohammed alleged that Metuh was being tried for.
On the EFCC website, one of the charges against Metuh by the EFCC reads: “That you, Olisa Metuh and Destra Investments Limited on or before the 24th November, 2014 in Abuja within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable court took possession of the sum N400,000,000 (Four Hundred Million Naira) only, paid into the account of DESTRA INVESTMENTS LIMITED with DIAMOND BANK Plc account number: 0040437573 from the account of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria without contract award when you reasonably ought to have known that the said sum formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity of Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd), the then National Security Adviser (to wit; criminal breach of trust and corruption) and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2), (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act”.
Though the EFCC would file fresh charges against Metuh, they were not for any financial crime, but rather for destruction of evidence. The charge read: “Olisa Metuh on the 5th day of January 2016 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory destroyed a document, to wit: a statement made under caution to investigators/operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on the 5th of January 2016, with the intention of preventing the same from being produced or used as evidence in a court of law.”
According to the EFCC, the offence is punishable under Section 166 of the Penal Code Cap 532 laws of the Federation of Nigeria, (Abuja) 2004.
Well, although Mr Metuh is being tried for fraud, the figure is actually N400m and not N1.4b! In this particular case, the devil lies in the detail.