…DSS snubs Metuh’s request for Dasuki
ABUJA—Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, insisted, yesterday, that former President Goodluck Jonathan must appear before him today, saying his summon was in line with a ruling of the Court of Appeal in Abuja that faulted his earlier refusal to grant Metuh’s request for subpoena to be issued against Dasuki.
This came as detained former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), yesterday, gave reasons he would not testify in the ongoing trial of erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh.
Metuh had asked the court on Monday to summon the former President as a witness to testify in the case filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over alleged N400 million fraud.
Justice Abang said: “Indeed, at the close of business, yesterday (Monday) being October 23, 2017, precisely at about 3.59 pm, the registrar forwarded to the court in chamber a subpoena to compel former President Goodluck Jonathan to appear in court to testify at the instance of the first defendant (Metuh).
“Therefore, in line with section 241(1) of Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 and having regard to the subsisting judgment of the Court of Appeal in the appeal CA/A/159C/2017, between Olisa Metuh and Federal Republic of Nigeria dated September 29, 2017 to the effect that it will be tantamount to violating the right of the first defendant to fair hearing not to sign the subpoena.
“I have no option other than to sign a subpoena to compel former President Goodluck Jonathan to appear in court on September 25, 2017 (Wednesday) to give evidence at the instance of the first defendant.”
A registrar of the court, however, confirmed to the judge, yesterday, that the court’s bailiff could not serve the subpoena on Jonathan.
Metuh had in his application, requested that the summon be served on Jonathan in his Abuja home.
However, despite inability of the court’s bailiff to reach the former President, Justice Abang maintained, yesterday, that the two subpoenaed witnesses (Jonathan and Dasuki) must be in court today.
Justice Abang said he would first rule on Dasuki’s motion to set aside the subpoena against him, before resuming hearing on the case.
The former NSA had in his motion dated September 20 and predicated on section 255, 492(3) of the ACJA, 2015, sections 183 & 198(2) of the Evidence Act, 2011, and section 36(6) of 1999 Constitution, challenged the subpoena against him.
He said the propriety of his ability to stand trial in the mentioned charges, in the face of his continued unlawful detention, is currently the subject matter of two appeals pending at the Supreme Court.
DSS snubs Metuh’s request for Dasuki
Neverthless, both EFCC and Metuh, yesterday, urged the court to dismiss Dasuki’s motion.
While praying the court to uphold the subpoena, Metuh’s lawyer decried that the DSS ignored two letters his client wrote for the detained ex-NSA to be released to appear before the high court to testify on his behalf.
On his part, EFCC lawyer, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, argued that the summon was binding on Dasuki since the subpoena was issued in compliance to a subsisting order of the appellate court.
He argued that vacating the subpoena on Dasuki would amount to Justice Abang overruling the Court of Appeal.
Similarly, counsel to Metuh’s company, Mr. Tochukwu Onwugbufor, SAN, urged the court to insist on the presence of both Jonathan and Dasuki as witnesses in the matter.
I don’t want to implicate myself, Dasuki tells court
Meanwhile, detained former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, retd, yesterday, said it would not be proper for him to appear as Metuh’s witness before the Federal High Court, Abuja, since he was already labelled as an accomplice in the charge.
Addressing the court through his lawyer, Mr. Ahmed Raji, SAN, the former NSA said he would not mount the witness box to implicate himself, saying he had yet to receive a copy of the subpoena the court issued to compel his attendance in the matter.
He told the court that his state of mind “is currently in turmoil because of the protracted unlawful detention by the Department of State Service.”