Nigeria's Jonathan should be funded to attend graft trial: lawyer

2017-10-31 20:16
Goodluck Jonathan (AFP)

Goodluck Jonathan (AFP)

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Abuja - Nigeria's former president Goodluck Jonathan should be given the equivalent of $2.7m to testify at the corruption trial of his party's former spokesperson, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

The money would cover costs to enable him to attend the case, Mike Ozekhome told reporters outside the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Olisa Metuh is accused of fraudulently receiving $1.1m from Jonathan's former national security advisor, Sambo Dasuki.

The money was allegedly diverted from funds meant to procure weapons and equipment for the fight against Boko Haram and was used to fund Jonathan's failed re-election bid in 2015.

Both Metuh, a former communications chief for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Dasuki, who is being tried separately, have said Jonathan was aware of the payments.

Lawyers for Metuh have summonsed both Jonathan and Dasuki to give evidence. But both failed to appear in court last week.

Ozekhome on Tuesday said Jonathan was "not the proper person to testify in these proceedings at all".

But he said if the judge maintained he should testify, the court "should order Olisa Metuh... to deposit the sum of one billion naira" to cover Jonathan's travel costs.

The money would also cover "logistics and the security personnel that will have to accompany him" from his home in Otuoke, in southern Nigeria, to the capital, added Ozekhome.

Otuoke, in oil-rich Bayelsa state, is some 680km by road from Abuja, where Jonathan is known to own property.

Jonathan was defeated by Muhammadu Buhari at elections that year.

Buhari has since embarked on an anti-corruption drive to root out endemic graft in government and public service.

Critics have accused him of a political witch-hunt as only members of the PDP and Jonathan's administration have been arrested and charged.

Jonathan's name has cropped up in a number of investigations and several members of his family and close allies have been taken to court.

But he is not thought to have been formally questioned.

Read more on:    muhammadu buhari  |  goodluck jonathan  |  nigeria  |  west africa

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