By Sadiq Umar – The case of money laundering preferred against the spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission took a new twist Monday as two witnesses brought before the Federal High Court narrated how the sum of $2million collected from the accused was transferred.
The witnesses made the disclosure at the resumed trial in the money laundering charges against Metuh, who allegedly collected the sum N400 of Million from the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
The sum was alleged to be part of the $2.1 Billion meant for arms purchase for the fight against Boko Haram insurgents in the North East zone.
The PDP spokesman allegedly collected the money via his private firm, Dextral Nigeria Limited.
During the cross examination by Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), a former Wealth Manager, Asset Resources Management, Nneka Ararume, called by the prosecution Counsel as a witness in the trial, testified in her evidence-in-chief that Metuh transferred $2 million to his investment portfolio with the company in December 2014.
The witness said Metuh invited her to his house and handed over the sum of $2 million cash to her for transaction. She said: “The owner of Dextral, Metuh, with whom the company manages his portfolio called me to his house and handed to me $2 million cash with instruction that the cash be converted into naira and paid into his account with us.
“I took the money and gave $1 million each to two Bureau De Change operators, Mr. Sie Iyenome and Mr. Kabiru Ibrahim, to sell.
“My company had managed Metuh’s portfolio long before I joined it in April 2011.”
Ararume, told the court that the transaction was not illegal.
When asked whether Asset Resources Management had access to Metuh’s bank accounts, the witness said the company had kept account files of all its clients.
She further said: “The company has no direct access to bank accounts of the client except instructed to do so by the client for specific reason.
“The singular reason which gives room to such access is when the client is paying in funds or asked for the liquidation of his investment.”
In his testimony, Iyenome, one of the Bureau De Change operators, said Ararume had sought for the sale of $1 million from him.
He said: “I did contact the Capital Field Investment and Trustees and one Tonye to sell the $1 million that she gave me.
“After due diligence, I gave them $500,000 each to sell.
“We got a total of N183 million from the sale of the $1 million.
“The money was immediately paid into the Asset Resources Management account and
Ararume brought the $1 million after she confirmed receipt of the N183 million.”
Iyenome said he acted as a broker in the transaction by connecting those who sold the money.
However, when re-examined by Silvanus Tahir, the prosecuting counsel, on the legally approved amount of dollars to be transacted in a day, Iyenome said only $4,000 was approved for an individual.
He further said the approval limit for a business entity per day stood at $5,000.
The judge adjourned till Tuesday for the continuation of the trial.
The trial is expected to continue Tuesday when more witnesses are expected to appear in court.
Also, Monday’s court proceeding witnessed application by Metuh’s Counsel, Ikpeazu for variation on his bail application, just as the accused failed to meet the his bail (conditions) granted him last week Monday by the Court.
The application was opposed by the prosecution Counsel, who insisted that the initial decision of the court should be upheld.
The ruling on Metuh’s fresh bail application has been fixed for Friday, January 29, 2016.