N400m fraud trial: I received N7. 4m from Metuh, says journalist

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From: Godwin Tsa, Abuja.

Former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, on Wednesday, called his ninth defence witness (DW9).

The witness, who is the Director of News of the African Independent Television (AIT), Mr. Adebayo Bodurin, who told the Federal High Court in Abuja that he was paid  the sum of N7.4 million by Metuh in 2014 as sensitisation advertisements for Daar Communication PLC the owner of AIT and Ray Power Radio.

Speaking from the witness box, Bodurin, a journalist with 40 years experience in the field, said he knew Olisa Metuh in the course of his career.

Metuh and his company, Destral Investment are being arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)  over the N400 million fraud before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The witness, who was led by Metuh’s counsel, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), said he has interviewed Metuh several times when the defendant was the National Vice Chairman of the PDP  and later as  the National Publicity Secretary of the party.

Bodunrin also told the court that sometime in 2014, towards the build-up to 2015 general election, Metuh invited him to meet Richard Iheadoha, an information expert, to discuss whether he could handle public sanitisation promo via jingles, advertisement and stroll massages in television and radio.

That he was told the materials were meant to reduce tension in the polity and promote peaceful election.

“I met with Richard and he presented the materials to me which I took to my office for preview. After the materials were previewed  we found that the materials were suitable.”

“I communicated our acceptance to Richard and I informed him that we will only accept cash payment before airing the materials because of our experience of delay payments.”

Bodurin further told the court that the sum of N7,492,250 was paid into his bank account on 5 December  2014 for the advertisements and it was not the only payment that he received from Richard.

Earlier, during the sitting, Justice Okon Abang, had overruled the prosecution counsel’s application to stand down the matter for hours to enable the lead counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, who was attending to another criminal matter at the Court of Appeal, to be present.

Justice Abang said that he would have stand down the matter if Tahir the prosecution counsel had relied solely on the letter sent  to the court without sending a lawyer. He said that since Mukhtar Mohammed had announced appearance the matter should go on.

After the evidence of Metuh’s witness, prosecution counsel, Mukhtar Mohammed, who stood in for Tahir, requested for an adjournment to enable him cross-examine the journalist.

His application was granted by the court after it was not opposed to by counsel to Metuh and his company.

The matter has been adjourned to January 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th for continuation of trial.

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