The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court trying Olisa Metuh has thrown out the application by former President Goodluck Jonathan to have N1 billion deposited before he can respond to a subpoena the court served him.
Metuh got the court to summon Jonathan and his NSA Sambo Dasuki to appear as witnesses in his N400 million money-laundering trial.
The PDP former publicity scribe has told the court he got the millions from the former president through the office of the NSA—for a national assignment.
Since Justice Okon Abang issued the subpoena on Oct. 23, Jonathan has not been available to be served. He’d rather file an application, through his lawyer Mike Ozekhome, asking Metuh to provide N1 billion in transport and logistics allowance for him to show up.
Ozekhome also asked the court to set aside the order for the issuance of the subpoena, on the grounds that the directive will amount to what he called an invasion of Mr. Jonathan’s right to privacy.
He added that the subpoena, whose details were obtained through the media, alongside other court proceedings, was vague in its nature.
Responding to the submission, Metuh’s lawyer Emeka Etiaba asked the court to refuse the application on the grounds that it was not ripe for hearing.
“My lord, the application is not only speculative, but premature and deserves to be struck out,” Etiaba said.
The judged agreed with him on that.
Etiaba added that the argument of Ozekhome that his client’s privacy would by abused, can only be decided when the former president appears in court.
Although the EFCC prosecution counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, did not object to the application, Abang refused the motion, citing none service of the subpoena by court officials.
Abang said his court lacks jurisdiction to make enforceable orders regarding compliance to a subpoena yet to be issued by his court.
“Service of the subpoena on him goes to the root of the matter; failure of which will nullify the outcome of proceedings,” the judge said on Wednesday.
“Dr. Jonathan, with the greatest respect to him, cannot rely on a news item from the media to conclude that the invitation is vague. I am inclined to dismiss this application, because it has been heard on its merits, but I will strike it out,” Abang said.
Meanwhile, Dasuki, brought by the DSS in response to the subpoena stepped into the box.
He, however, told the court he could no longer remember his dealomgs with Metuh.
According to him, he will be able to go through the details if the DSS holding him for about two years can release him.
The matter was adjourned till Friday.