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Arms deal: Court admits documents of payments for publicity as exhibit

A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday, admitted the documents detailing how former national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, disbursed alleged arms funds for the 2015 general election.

The documents admitted in evidence by the court showed payments for advertorials in various media outlets made on the instruction of Metuh.

The document, which comprised breakdown of payment of the sum of N31 million to different media outfits for advertorials in the name of PDP, were tendered through the fifth defence witness, Richard Ihediwa.

The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, in a bench ruling, held that since the documents were relevant to the case, they were admissible, adding that though no submission was made as to how the witness came across the document, the fact that it contained relevant evidence made it admissible.

He also ruled that being a legal document of account, it did not matter whether the witness was a maker or not, especially as he had knowledge of the inflow of the account.

The judge, quoting from the evidence in chief of the witness, recalled that the witness said his responsibility was to handle and place advertorial, including the payments of such advertorials.

He went further to recall how the witness claimed N31.5 million was paid into his account by the first defendants which, he in turn, disbursed to various media outlets covering them.

Stating that the issue was not whether the witness had custody of the document or not, but of relevance, Abang said he was satisfied that the witness had personal knowledge of the documents from his evidence in chief and consequently admitted the document.

On the issue of relevance, Etiaba argued that since the prosecution did not raise the issue of relevance of the document, the defense counsel took it that the document was relevant at the first instance and consequently, should be admitted on that ground.

He, therefore, urged the court to admit the evidence and to discountenance the objection of the prosecution.

Justice Abang, however, adjourned the hearing of the matter till November 24 and 30.

He also ordered the defendant, in line with the rules of the court, to present the list of other witnesses it planned to call at the next adjourned date.