Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja has directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to open its case in the N400m money laundering charges against the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh.
The judge overruled the objection of the defence to the commencement of the trial before directing the EFCC to call its first witness on Monday.
The witness, Nneka Ararume, is already in the box to begin her testimony.
Meanwhile the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, has yet to meet the bail conditions imposed on him by a Federal High Court in Abuja with respect to the money laundering charges involving the sum of N400m which he allegedly collected from the office of the National Security Adviser in November 2014.
The bail granted by Justice Okon Abang on January 16 was in the sum of N400m with two sureties in the sum of N200m each.
The sureties to be presented by the accused are not only expected to be residents of Abuja but must also own property in Maitama in the Federal Capital Territory.
The defence led by Mr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), filed this morning an application for the variation of the bail conditions.
But the prosecuting counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, said the hearing of the application could not proceed since he was only served only some minutes before the proceedings.
Tahir urged the judge to direct that prosecution to commence the trial by calling its first witness.
On the other hand, Ikpeazu argued that the trial could not commence as he was only served with an additional proof of evidence containing the witness statement of an EFCC investigator this morning.
Ikpeazu added that it was agreed that trial would commence today on the assumption that Metuh would have fulfilled the bail conditions.
Judge is still entertaining submissions on the issues.
The judge had ruled as part of bail conditions that the surties must produce the certificates of occupancy of the property which must be verified by the Chief Registrar of the court and confirmed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The judge, who also ordered that Metuh must deposit his traveling documents with the court pending the period of his trial, also ordered the EFCC to verify the residences of the sureties which must be in Abuja.
The EFCC alleged in the charges that Metuh, who was arraigned along a firm, Destra Investments Ltd, received N400m, part of the money meant for the procurement of arms, from the Office of the National Security Adviser in November 2014.