Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday confirmed that he had signed a subpoena compelling former President Goodluck Jonathan to appear in court on Wednesday to testify in defence of a former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh.
This confirms The PUNCH’s exclusive story published on Tuesday that the judge signed the subpoena to be served on Jonathan after retiring back to chambers at the end of Monday’s proceedings.
The judge confirmed this on Tuesday during the resumed trial of Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited, on seven counts of money laundering involving alleged cash transaction of $2m and fraudulent receipt of N400m meant for procurement of arms from the Office of the National Security Adviser.
Confirming the summons on Jonathan on Tuesday, Justice Abang said he received Metuh’s application for a subpoena to be issued on Jonathan at about 3.59pm on Monday.
The judge said, “Indeed, at the close of business yesterday being October 23, 2017 precisely at about 3.59pm, the registrar forwarded to the court in chamber a subpoena to compel former President Goodluck Jonathan to appear in court to testify a 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.”
But while being interrogated by the judge on Tuesday, a registrar of the court said the bailiff of the court had yet to serve the subpoena on Joanthan as of Tuesday morning.
Most of Metuh’s defence witnesses, including Mr. Ben Nwosu, who ended his testimony earlier on Monday, had insisted that the sum of N400m paid to the ex-spokesperson for the PDP from the Office of the NSA in November 2014, the money being part of the case against Metuh, was directly authorised by Jonathan.
Metuh, had therefore through his lead counsel, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), told Justice Abang on Monday that he would seek to subpoena the ex-President as a defence witness.
Ikpeazu said the defence had written formally to Jonathan notifying him of the intention to have him testify in court but that the former President did not reply.