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N400m fraud trial: “I received N7. 4m from Metuh,” says AIT director

The Director of News of the Africa Independent Television (AIT), Mr. Adebayo Bodurin on Wednesday told the Federal High Court in Abuja that former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Olisa Metuh paid Daar Communication PLC the owner of AIT and Ray Power Radio the sum of N7,492,250 million for public sanitization advertisements in 2014.

Bodurin disclosed this in his testimony at the ongoing trial of Metuh over the N400million fraud before Justice Okon Abang of the federal high court.

Bodurin , a journalist with 40 years experience in the field said he knew Olisa Metuh in the course of his career. He said he has interviewed Metuh several times when the defendant was the National Vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party and later as the National Publicity Secretary.

Led in evidence by the defence lawyer, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), the witness said that sometimes in 2014 towards the built up to 2015 general election , Metuh invited him to meet Richard an information expert to discuss whether he could handle public sanitization 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 Dec 2014 for the advertisements and it was not the only payment I received.

Earlier, during the sitting, the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang had overruled the prosecution counsel 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 stood 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.

During the sitting on Tuesday, the defence counsel Etiaba (SAN) had insisted that
the bailiff of the Federal High Court in Abuja was making efforts to serve the former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan with subpoena notice to appear in court to testify in the money laundering charge.

He therefore told the court to adjourn matter as the bailiff has been assured that the former President Goodluck Jonathan will be available on 11 December to personally receive the subpoena.

So, defence were not prepared to call any witness to testify on Tuesday but insisted that the former President must appear to testify insisting that his testimony will determine whether he will have to give any evidence in the matter or call any other witness.

He, however, abandoned that line of defence on Wednesday seeing that the court was not favourably deposed to wasting a whole day. The defence also realised that after yesterday sitting the next adjourn date will be early next year .

The court later adjourned the matter to January 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th for cross examination and continuation of trial.

Andrew Orolua, Abuja.

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