The National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, was finally freed from Kuje Prison on Thursday evening after fulfilling the bail conditions imposed on him by a Federal High Court in Abuja on January 19.
Metuh was released from prison after 13 days of remand in custody with respect to the charges of fraudulent receipt of N400m from the Office of the National Security Adviser in 2014 and money laundering involving a separate $2m cash transaction.
The charges were preferred against him and his company, Destra Investments Limited.
He was freed from prison after the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, signed his release warrant, upon being satisfied with the verification of the details of the two sureties provided by the accused and the title documents of the property owned by the sureties.
The verification exercise was done by the Chief Registrar of the court and it also involved the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, whom the judge directed must verify the residential addresses of the two sureties.
A court official confirmed to our correspondent that Metuh met the bail conditions and presented the necessary documents before the official close of work in court on Thursday.
Metuh’s journey to freedom was made easier by a ruling of the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, which varied the bail conditions on Wednesday.
After he was remanded in prison upon being arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on January 15, he was granted bail by the judge in the sum of N400m with two sureties each in the sum of N200m, on January 19.
But he struggled in vain to secure sureties who are resident in Abuja and own valid title documents for property in Maitama district of Abuja, as ordered by the court.
But going by Wednesday’s ruling by Justice Abang, granting in part the PDP spokesperson’s application for variation of the bail conditions, Metuh would no longer be required to produce two sureties who must have property strictly in the Maitama area of Abuja.
While the bail sum of N400m and other attached conditions remained, Metuh’s proposed sureties, whom the court insisted must be resident in Abuja, could be owners of property with valid title documents “in any district of the Federal Capital Territory.”
The court delivered a bench ruling on the application filed on January 26 shortly after Metuh’s lawyer, Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN), moved it on Wednesday.
But the court in its ruling rejected an aspect of Metuh’s application seeking the removal of the bail condition directing the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, to within 24 hours of being notified, verify the addresses of the proposed sureties and the certificates of occupancy of the property to be presented by them.
The court rejected the second leg of the application despite disregarding the opposition by prosecuting counsel to that aspect of the prayer for failing to file his objection to the application within 24 hours earlier given him to do so.
Metuh was also made to deposit his passport and other travel documents as part of the conditions for the bail.
Since his remand, prison officials had always produced him in court for his trial in handcuffs, not exempting his appearances before a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama, Abuja, where the EFCC subsequently charged him with destruction of evidence.
The prosecution alleged in the charges that Metuh and his firm used the N400m paid to them by ONSA for the PDP’s campaign activities, and were said to have given about N21m to a former Chairman, Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih. (InfoTrust)