A defence witness in ongoing trial of the former national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, on Tuesday, told a Federal High Court in Abuja that Metuh gave N140 million to President Jonathan’s aides who coordinated image laundering campaign for him ahead 2015 presidential election.
He said the controversial N400 million given to Metuh by former President Jonathan may have come from funds raised by Jonathan’s friends and friends of the party, for the purpose of the re-election bid of the former president.
The witness, Richard Ihediwa, who is the fifth defence witness, also told the court that Metuh also paid N31 million to some media houses for adverts, adding that Metuh agreed to carry out the assignment given to him by the former pesident after the former PDP national chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, assured him that Jonathan was going to mobilise him from the said fund which was in his custody and control.
Ihediwa said he was aware that at the time of the presentation by Metuh to Jonathan, the Professor Jerry Gana-led PDP presidential fund raising committee had started its work, adding that funds already realised from the friends of the former president and of the party were already in Jonathan’s custody.
He said in the PDP, such fund was always used to project the party’s candidate as well as for other interventions, to ensure a conducive atmosphere to enable the candidate to win.
The witness said Metuh, upon being mobilised by the former president, who also called him to inform him that he had paid the N400 million into his account, commenced a two-pronged project, which involved advocacy actions to douse the tension in the country and to enhance the image of the former president.
Continuing on how the N400 million was expended, which he said was in strict compliance with the directives of the former president; Ihediwa told the court that various intervention groups were deployed across the country.
He said many of these groups were coordinated by some publicity and strategy aides designated by the former president to work with the Metuh and his team.
Such groups, he said, carried the advocacy for the stability of the nation and the image of the president to the grassroots.
On the method of spending and payment to groups and consultants, the witness said Metuh was making the payment through his various personal accounts in various banks, depending on the bank that was convenient for the person receiving the payment.
The matter was adjourned till today for continuation of trial.