A former spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, has disengaged two Senior Advocates of Nigeria leading his defence in his N400m money laundering case before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
He immediately replaced the two senior lawyers with another lawyer, Mr. Abel Ozioko, who appeared in the case for the first time on Wednesday.
Metuh’s decision to disengage the two SANs – Dr. Onyechi Ikpezu and Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN) – came barely 24 hours after the senior lawyers filed an application for withdrawal as the defendant’s counsel.
Justice Okon Abang had on March 5, 2019, fixed Wednesday for the hearing of the SANs’ application.
But before the scheduled hearing, Metuh had written to the SANs disengaging them as his lawyers.
The two SANs had been leading his defence since January 2016 when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission preferred the charges against him.
Metuh and his firm, Destra Investment Limited, are being prosecuted by the EFCC on money laundering charges, involving allegations that they both fraudulently took the sum N400m from the Office of the National Security Adviser “when they reasonably ought to know” that the money was part of the proceeds of alleged criminal act of then NSA, Sambo Dasuki.
The ex-PDP’s spokesperson was also accused of transacting with cash of $2m without going through a financial institution in violation of a provision of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
At the Wednesday’s proceedings, Ikpeazu, informed the judge that his application seeking an order permitting him and his law firm to withdraw from the case had been overtaken by event following the Metuh’s letter of disengagement of his law firm.
Ikpeazu then sought to withdraw the application.