The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court hearing the case of corruption against former Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olisa Metuh, has been asked to set aside proceeding in the case.
This is pending judgement at the Appeal Court over the suit filed to prevent former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, from appearing as a witness in the case.
The call for the court to stop the proceeding was made by the counsel representing former Dasuki, Ahmed Raji.
Raji who is counsel to Dasuki told Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court on Tuesday that his client had approached the appelate court to challenge a previous decision of the high court which compelled the former NSA to appear to appear as a defence witness in Metuh’s trial.
It would be recalled that Metuh who is facing trial for alleged diversion of N400 million received from Dasuki’s office when the latter was NSA obtained orders compelling Dasuki and former President Goodluck Jonathan to appear as defence witnesses in his case.
Raji had asked the court not to invite his client over the matter, but Justice Abang objected to the plea, arguing that the order came from a higher court.
It was consequent upon the insistence of Abang that Dasuki must appear that a suit was filed to challenge the invitation.
Speaking at the court session on Tuesday, Raji said he had filed the application at the Appeal Court and pleaded that the High Court should hold on till the higher court decided on the current motion before it (Appeal Court).
His words: “The only thing we can do is to appeal to your Lordship to tarry to allow the Court of Appeal to determine the motion for stay of execution. It is my intention to withdraw the motion dated 25th October praying the court for a stay of execution, because of the similar motion filed at the Appeal Court.
“It is therefore my humble submission that in the light of the motion for stay of execution pending before the Court of Appeal, energy should not be dissipated on the execution of the subpoena because that could run against what the Appeal Court will decide upon, to the effect that once a motion like this is filed, the lower court will tarry.”
Dasuki’s counsel also asked the court to set aside a previous submission of the prosecution counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, who told the court that Dasuki spoke through an official of the SSS that he (Dasuki) would not come to court to testify.
“I have the greatest respect for SSS and I know they are doing their best. I will urge my Lord to hesitate in issuing a bench warrant against the director general in the light of the motion pending before the Court of Appeal.
“The prosecutor has submitted. I urge my Lord that everything ascribed to Colonel Dasuki by the SSS officer should be expunged from your records. Because it is a damaging and incriminating hearsay, portraying Colonel Dasuki as being defiant of the court and saying he is not going to come.
“Mr. Tahir is quoting somebody else and that person is now quoting what Dasuki allegedly said: that he will not come to court. This is a damaging, hearsay that is inadmissible,” he said.
As for the request that former President Goodluck Jonathan should appear as a witness in Metuh’s case, Mr. Mike Ozekhome, counsel to Jonathan said his client had requested Metuh to deposit N1 billion as travel and logistics expenses before he could come to testify as a defence witness.
His words: “My Lord: Ojukwu once wrote a book, “Because I am involved” we are standing here this morning, because we are involved.
“In view of that I am standing here to draw your attention to our motion, dated and filed October 30 and filed to all parties, urging the court to set aside the issuance or service of the subpoena issued by this court on the 23rd of October, for the purpose of compelling Goodluck Jonathan to appear in court and give evidence.
“We have an order directing the first defendant respondent to deposit with this honorable court: for and on behalf of Mr. Jonathan, N1 billion to cover Mr. Jonathan’s travel expenses and that of his aides from his home town Otuoke and for logistics to cover any period of time that he might spend appearing as former President in court.”
Mr. Ozekhome said the application was made on eight grounds of argument pursuant to Section 241 (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
He said his client got to know about the subpoena through the pages of the newspapers.
“If there was no subpoena, we will not be here. He was sitting on his own jeje. The subpoena was issued and we heard it on the pages of the newspapers,” said Ozekhome.
A court clerk was invited and he told the court how it was impossible for the bailiff to serve Jonathan the court order.
He explained: “We could not serve the former president. The reason is that on getting there, (Jonathan’s house) an aide to the former president said Mr. Jonathan is not in the country and would return in November.”