By Adedapo Adesanya
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday, February 24, sentenced a former National Publicity Secretary of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Olisa Metuh, to seven years imprisonment on corruption charges.
Delivering the verdict after a six-hour sitting, Justice Okon Abang convicted Mr Metuh on all the seven count charges, including the fraudulent receipt of N400 million from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in November 2014 and use of the money for political activities.
The jail term followed his activities ahead of the 2015 presidential election which his party, the PDP lost to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mr Metuh was also convicted for using the money for personal use as he transacted a cash equivalent of $2 million without going through a financial institution.
The sitting judge agreed with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which proved that the transaction violated the anti-money laundering law which states that the maximum cash transaction an individual can undertake outside a financial institution is N5 million.
Justice Abang then sentenced Mr Metuh to seven years imprisonment for counts 1, 2, 4 and 7; five years imprisonment in respect of count 3; and three years in respect of counts 5 and 6.
He, however, ruled that the sentences shall run concurrently which implied that he would only spend the highest number of years of jail term, which is seven, in prison.
The court also directed the convict to pay the sum of N375 million to the federal government and asked his company, Destra Investments, to also pay N25 million to the federal government.
He further ordered that the accounts of Destra Investments in Diamond Bank and Asset Resource Management to be closed and their funds forfeited to the federal government.
Justice Abang said they ought to have known that the sum of N400 million paid to them formed part of the proceeds of the unlawful activity of the former NSA boss because they had no form of a contract with the ONSA.
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