…Says Justice Will Prevail
We read with rude shock the sudden attack on Chief Olisa Metuh by Chief Robert Clarke, SAN who in his interview in Saturday, September, 23, 2017 edition of the Punch Newspapers distorted facts and made spurious assertions regarding Chief Metuh’s on going case in the court.
Chief Clarke, in his media trial falsely asserted among other things, that Chief Metuh was given ‘billions of naira’ by the ‘last regime’ to promote his party while attempting to link the ongoing case to corrupt enrichment, which is not the charge in the court.
We find it very curious that Chief Clarke SAN left the subject of the interview, which were solutions to issues of agitations by IPOB and political restructuring, to rather engage on media trial of Chief Metuh’s case with unfounded assertions.
Equally instructive is the fact that this same Chief Clarke, SAN was one of the lawyers that held discussions with Chief Metuh after the closure of the case of the prosecution and who, after thoroughly studying the charges and the records in court, held on point and authority of the law that the EFCC has no case; that Chief Metuh is innocent; that the entire matter was an ‘unnecessary persecution by government’.
Chief Clarke had completely faulted the charge by the EFCC that Chief Metuh ‘ought to have known’ that the N400 million released to him by former President Goodluck Jonathan for an approved special national assignment, and which was carried out under the instruction and directives of the then President, came from an alleged unlawful activity of the former National Security Adviser (NSA) and Jonathan’s aide, Col. Sambo Dasuki.
His legal opinion was that there was no way the government could have charged Chief Metuh without first convicting Col. Dasuki or perhaps charge them together. In fact, following his conviction that there was no case in the matter, Chief Clarke, SAN offered to be in Chief Metuh’s defence team and would have been so engaged, but for the fact that his brief was not perfected on issues of fees.
Chief Clarke, SAN is therefore fully aware of the facts of the case. He knows that Chief Metuh was not given billions of naira and that he is not charged with corrupt enrichment. To so read from the same man that Chief Metuh collected billions of naira to promote his party is most disappointing.
We are thus at a loss as to the intentions of a respected lawyer of Chief Clarke’s age, standing and experience at the bar, to engage in media trial and making unsubstantiated assertions when he is full aware of the harm associated with such distortions in a case as this, especially after the Chief Justice of the Federation has cautioned against such. This is more so as Chief Clarke, SAN is equally engaged as defence counsel in other high profile criminal trials.
Spurious publications such as Chief Clarke’s make Chief Metuh’s case seem terrible, and while other defendant’s in similar cases are allowed to attend medical appointments overseas, Chief Metuh’s applications are turned down, production of vital witnesses denied and deliberately set up to the public as having been convicted already.
Chief Metuh had had cause to report such orchestrated media trials and misrepresentations including those by the EFCC to the court and for which the court issued stern reprimands. Apart from distortion of court proceedings, there has been bandying of figures and several false reports including claims that he chewed his statement while in the custody of the EFCC, only for EFCC witness to deny same in court.
Finally, while we expect Chief Clarke SAN to retract his statement and desist from such in the future, it is also instructive to note that whereas Chief Metuh is at liberty to use legitimate means available within the law to address such, he has maintained his comportment in pursing his case, despite his manifest ill-health, believing strongly that justice will prevail in the end