ON Tuesday, Olisah Metuh, a former National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, was sentenced to seven years in prison after being found guilty to charges of money laundering to the tune of $2 billion.
Metuh was convicted for receiving N400 million from Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser, NSA, and also for embezzling the sum of $2.1 billion which was meant for the purchase of arms for the Nigeria Armed Forces.
The presiding judge, Justice Okon Abang in his judgement convicted Metuh on the seven-count charges, he stated that Metuh and his firm should have known that the sum of N400 million paid to them formed part of the proceeds of the unlawful activity of the ex-NSA because they had no form of a contractual relationship with the Office of the National Security Adviser.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had arraigned Metuh alongside his firm on an amended seven-count charges instituted against them.
Justice Abang said the Dasuki breached the public trust by transferring the money and dismissed the defence who argued that because Dasuki, currently being prosecuted, had yet to be convicted for the said offence of breach of trust and corruption.
“I have my doubts if the first defendant is telling the truth in this matter. It is in my firm view that as of November 24, 2014, the first defendant had actual knowledge of the inflow from Office of the National Security Adviser in the account of the second defendant,” he said.
He posited that contrary to the argument, “the predicate offence and the money laundering offence are intertwined”.
“I think the prosecution has proved the ingredients as regards count one. The first defendant is hereby found guilty on count one and accordingly convicted,” Justice Abang ruled.
The judge agreed that the anti-graft agency had successfully proved that the transaction violated the anti-money laundering law which pegs the maximum cash transaction an individual undertakes outside a financial institution at N5 million
Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.