Friday, 22 January 2016

Arms Deal: Dasuki Case Adjourned To Feb 4

A Federal High Court in Abuja has adjourned the case concerning the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) till February 4.

Judge over the case Hussein Yusuf said the adjournment will allow the court time to go through all submissions made by the counsels.

At the hearing, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs had prayed the court not to entertain an application by the defendants to stop the trial.

“I’m not unmindful that the first defendant filed an application urging your lordship to prohibit the prosecution to proceed with this charge or stay the proceedings,” Jacobs said.

He said he submits that the application cannot be taken or if taken should be adjourned till the end of this proceeding.

“My Lord, the era of stopping criminal trial is over by the effect of the criminal Justices Act in May 2015.”

Jacobs said once an arraignment has been made, trial continues day to day.

“My lord that is the provision of Section 396 and with due respect the provision the trial should continue,” he said.

He also added that section 306 enjoins the court not to stay the application.

In his defense, Joseph Daudu told the court that the prosecution took his client back into custody shortly after he was released.

“As far as we are concerned it is our duty to ensure that the orders of this court are obeyed,” Daudu said.

He also noted that his team is not aware of where the brought his client, Dasuki from.

The only thing I can see now is that he is looking thinner and thinner and we have not even discussed with him,” he said.

He also reminded the court that it was on the judge’s order that the federal government produced Dasuki on Thursday, January 21.

“First of all, a lot of damage has been done by the fact that he was re-arrested,” he said.

He said: “Nobody forced them to bring him to court when they had not finished their investigation.”

He also informed the court that the defendants have been charged with a 26-paragraph counter affidavit this morning and will need time to reply.

Also speaking, counsel to the second defendant, Akin Olujimi said his team has been served additional proof of evidence.

He asked that the prosecution be advised to place all his cards on the table if he is sure he is ready to go on with trial.

“My lord we have to cross all these hurdles created by the prosecution before we can head to trial,” Olujimi said.

Speaking also, counsel to the fourth defendant, Solomon Umoh said he is aware of an application before the court.

He however, noted that his team is yet to be served the application.

“My lord I can say the issue is not yet ripe, I am yet to get the said application and when that comes I will have yo study it,” Umoh said.

But Jacobs in his argument told the court that it was only this week that one of the counsel informed him that he needed the statements of accused persons and some other documents.

He said it will be unfair to state that he created a hurdle for the defense counsels.

He added that the address on provided by the counsel was not complete thus delaying the serving of the application and counter affidavit.

Having listened to all the submissions, the judge adjourned the case to Thursday, February 4.

Dasuki alongside his former finance director, Shuaibu Salisu, Baba Kusa and two companies are facing a 19-count charge bordering on money laundering and criminal abuse of public trust before Justice Yusuf.

He also facing various charges in two different courts in Abuja.

He is accused of diverting funds meant for the procurement of arms during his tenure as the national security adviser.

The money, $2.1 billion, the EFCC alleged were shared between the former NSA’S cronies for the funding of the last presidential election campaign.

Meanwhile, Dasuki has filed a suit against the federal government before the ECOWAS court in Abuja over his continued detention.

In the suit filed by his lawyer, Robert Emukpoeruo, Dasuki wants the court to declare among other things that his continued detention after having been granted bail by three different courts and met the conditions for his release, was “unlawful, arbitrary and an egregious violation” of his human rights.

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