Ahmed Raji, SAN, counsel to Sambo Dasuki (rtd) has asked Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja to suspend the subpoena on the former National Security Adviser, NSA, to come and give evidence in the N400million fraud suit against Olisa Metuh, former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Metuh alongside Destra Investment on a seven-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N400 million, which he allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in 2014 to run an advocacy campaign for former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Moving the application on Tuesday, October 24, 2017, Raji said, “This is an application before your Lordship and it is supported with a 7-point, 26 paragraph affidavits and a written address. I rely on the processes and adopt the written address urging you my Lord to set aside the issue of subpoena pending the release of the former NSA from the custody of the DSS”.
Explaining the circumstances surrounding his application and the need for the court to give his application a due consideration Raji said, “It is not in dispute that the former NSA was arraigned on 3 counts by the EFCC, and the same EFCC handed him over to the DSS following refusal of the government to release my client”.
He stated further: “We proceeded to the ECOWAS court where the court ordered his release and awarded N15 million as damages in Dasuki’s favor. There are other judgments from various competent courts including a municipal court which ordered his release, but up till this moment my Lord, he has not been released”
The learned silk went on by saying, “evidence giving in court is a thing that concerns the state of mind, access to documents and materials”.
He added that, “My client was only the NSA between 2012 and 2015, and yet he is still being detained after 2 years. Evidence giving is a thing of the mind and most importantly access to documents, my client is willing to give evidence but the circumstances surrounding it are completely disoriented. I urge the court to set aside the execution of service.”
Responding, Metuh’s counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, told the court that he had filed a counter-affidavit this morning on point of law and opined that “the issue of mental state of the applicant is an issue that is domiciled within him”
While asking for an unmerited access to the applicant in the interest of justice, Ikpeazu said, “We have filed a 64 paragraph counter affidavit on point of law and we are relying on lines 1 and 10 and page 65. Going by the provision of Section 287(2) of the 1999 constitution in this case my Lord, Dasuki is neither the 1st nor 2nd defendant rather; his name appeared as particulars of the offense. In reference to Section (124) ACJA 2015, there is therefore no burden on the 1st defendant to further antagonize the witness by bringing further application which may include issuance of warrant of arrest. We urge my Lord to take this into consideration”.
Sylvanus Tahir, counsel to the EFCC, while making his submission told the court that he did not prepare a written address or an affidavit. However, Tahir in his oral address urged the court to execute the service of the subpoena on the former NSA.
“I seek the order of this court to look at ‘Exhibits 8 and H1’ (order of the court of appeal), to order your Lordship to execute the service of the subpoena on the former NSA”, Tahir urged.
Adding to his argument, he told the court that, “the FHC is a subordinate court to the Court of Appeal and cannot review, vary or substitute the judgment of the appeal court”.
He urged the court to respect the Section 287(3) of the 1999 constitution adding that “the court is known for order of strict compliance and there is nothing the court can do than to comply with the judgment of the Court of Appeal”.
After heated arguments by counsels, Justice Abang adjourned to October 25, 2017 for ruling.