A defence witness in the ongoing trial of the National Publicity Secretary, People’s Democratic Party ( PDP ), Chief Olisa Metuh, yesterday narrated how former President Goodluck Jonathan paid N400 million into Metuh’s account.
The witness, a columnist with The New Telegraph Newspaper, Mr. Ike Abonyi, told a Federal High Court in Abuja that the former president had asked for Metuh’s account details to enable him to transfer money for the image laundering of the party and himself.
The counsel to the first defendant, Tochukwu Onwubufo (SAN), had asked the court for a short adjournment to enable him to study the brief. He said the constitution still allows for adjournments, though not more than 30 days at a time.
But Justice Okon Abang said the application for adjournment orally made by the counsel to the second defendant would not stop the day’s proceeding, which was for the first defendant to open his defence.
Abang said: “Having considered the oral application by counsel to the second defendant as well as the argument by the prosecution counsel, I need to say that I have decided that the only issue was the relevance of Section 3493 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which came as a new issue on his application for adjournment.
“The law is such that once the court has decided on an issue, no party can drag the court back on the same issue. Having ruled that the second defendant was not entitled to adjournment, I cannot reverse the decision and he cannot raise the issue again before this court.
“Section 3493 should be read subject to Section 3492 and as such, the section cannot be of assistance to the second defendant.
“However, in the overall interest of justice, the court will take the interest of the second defendant into consideration at the end of the proceedings.
“The court will take the defence of the first defendant and later adjourn at the instance of the second defendant”, the judge said.
At that instance, the first defendant witness was called to the witness box. Abonyi told the court that he was invited by Metuh to work with him as a public relations consultant when it was obvious that the PDP needed to enhance its image and that of its leadership.
According to him, a consulting firm, CMC Connect was also engaged by Metuh for its skills having worked for the party in the past.