At the ongoing trial of the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh – his first witness, Ike Abonyi revealed on Monday, that N400m was paid to the defendant by the office of the National Security Adviser in 2014.
Speaking before a Federal High Court in Abuja, Abonyi inferred that the funds were released based on the instruction of former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
Metuh is being prosecuted for money laundering and charges bordering on the N400m he allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser.
Abonyi said Metuh was told by Jonathan – that the money paid into his account by the NSA office was for the purpose of executing the party’s Presidential media campaign ahead of the 2015 presidential election.
Abonyi, who was cross examined by Metuh’s lead counsel, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), said he served in the team led by the PDP spokesperson.
He said the team developed the media campaign strategies for the 2015 presidential election for Jonathan’s re-election.
The witness said the team did a presentation to Jonathan in the Presidential Villa in either October or November 2014.
The presentation at the Presidential Villa was conducted by Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, the Managing Director, CMC Connect.
Following the conclusion of the presentation, Jonathan was said to have asked Metuh to submit to him, a corporate account in which funds meant for the project could be paid into.
“After the presentation, the President asked for comment from those sitting with him and most of the speakers made positive remarks about what they saw in our presentation.”
“The Office of the Media Adviser, (Dr. Reuben Abati), did the presentation; Dr. Doyin Okupe, Senior Special Adviser on Public Affairs, and some other professionals brought in by party and government officials also did presentation.”
“Ultimately, given the comments of people that were sitting with the President, I recalled vividly the comments of a former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, who told the President that what the team presented should be put into action; they should be quickly mobilised because if nothing was done immediately before the President started the campaign, it would be difficult to win the election given the public perception of him and his government at that time.”
“The President then said since it appeared to be the consensus of the people with him then that Metuh and his team did a better job, he would advise that all the others should collapse into Chief Metuh’s team, because he would want the consultant to provide the direction.”
“At that point, the President told Chief Metuh that he had done a good job but that the real job was still out there to put all these into action and told him to bring a corporate account to him for immediate mobilisation and action.”
Subsequently, he said that Metuh was told by Jonathan that the funds had been paid into his account.
“After our presentation, we continued our work. The MD of CMC Connect returned to Lagos. We were waiting to hear from Chief Metuh.”
“One afternoon, he Metuh told us that the President (Jonathan) called him and said he should check his bank that some money had been disbursed to him for his job.”
After Abonyi had given his testimony, Justice Abang adjourned till April 20.