By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja
Will former President Goodluck Jonathan make history, again, by showing up in court to answer questions on whether he approved and caused to be released N400 million to a former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Olisa Metuh, for campaign purposes?
Jonathan made history two years ago when against the grain of history, he became the hero of the 2015 presidential elections by conceding defeat, a rarity on the African continent.
The bets are on with most saying he will not break the jinx by being the first former Nigerian to honour a court invitation.
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja Tuesday reaffirmed that the former president and former National Security Adviser Col Muhammed Sambo Dasuki must appear before it to testify for the former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party Mr. Olisa Metuh in the N400m corruption charges brought against him by the Federal Government.
The court will however deliver ruling on a motion filed by the ex NSA seeking to set aside the subpoena issued against him to compel him to appear in court.
The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang who reaffirmed the invitation sent to Jonathan and Dasuki by Metuh to testify in his favour said that the ruling he had earlier given on Monday still subsist.
At yesterday’s proceedings, Dasuki through his counsel Mr. Ahmed Raji SAN, had prayed the court to set aside the subpoena issued against his client on the ground that Dasuki had been in the custody of the Department of State Service, DSS, since December 2015 without a lawful court order.
Raji argued that the ex NSA was not in the right frame of mind to testify in any matter having been denied access to documents and freedom of movement for almost 2 years by the Federal government.
Besides, the senior counsel further submitted that Dasuki having been indicted alongside Metuh in the same financial transactions was not a compellable witness that should testify in such a criminal trial.
He urged the court to set aside the subpoena against his client on account of improper service of same on him and in view of the canvassed reasons.
However, counsel to Metuh, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN, opposed the motion by Dasuki on the ground that he is bound by the order of the court to be in court to evidence in the trial.
He however regretted that he had written letters to Dasuki and the Director General of the DSS on the need to produce Dasuki in court for the purpose of giving evidence for his client but that up to yesterday, the DSS had not considered it necessary to respond to the letters.
On his part, counsel to the Federal government, Sylvanus Tahir in opposing the application by Dasuki raised four grounds for considerations among which were that the federal high court is a subordinate court to the Court of Appeal and as such cannot review, vary or set aside a judgment of the court is appeal.
Tahir claimed that the judgment of the Appellate court on subpoena issued against Dasuki is valid, subsisting and not appeal against and that Dasuki been not a party at the appeal court cannot challenge the decision of the appellate court.
The EFCC counsel further argued that the judgment of the appeal court have a binding effect on all parties and urged the court to refuse the application by Dasuki seeking to set aside the judgment of the higher court delivered on September 29.
” The service and the execution of the subpoena on Dasuki and DG DSS demanding that Dasuki be produced in court is a complete act that cannot be set aside by the Federal High Court since the order for the subpoena came from the court of appeal having complied with the order of the appeal court in line with provisos of S 287(2) of the 1999 as amended, this court cannot set aside an order that has already been carried out” Tahir submitted.
Tahir further submitted that nothing precludes Dasuki from coming to court to testify even if he had been indicted in the same financial transaction along with Olisa Metuh.
After taking submissions from the parties justice Abang adjourned ruling to today but ordered lawyers on the matter to supply to the court the photocopies list of authorities cited to buttress their submissions during their oral arguments.
The judge however said that since the order of the court made on Monday has not been vacated, both former president Jonathan and Dasuki called by Metuh to testify for him must be in court Wednesday.
Will Jonathan make history, again, as court summons him, Dasuki in METUH’S trial
By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja