Saturday, 23 January 2016

FG has no moral and legal right to persecute me - Dasuki

FORMER National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), challenging the audacity of the Federal Government to put him on trial, yesterday told FCT High Court that the government has no moral and legal right to prosecute him, having been in contempt of three High Courts that had granted him bail, but were not obeyed.

Dasuki, who is on trial over the alleged mismanagement of about N19.1 billion meant for the purchase of arms, made an application through his defence counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN).

Daudu, who brought an “unless application” challenging the disobedience of the FG to honor the earlier granted bail, submitted that “the FG cannot go ahead with the trial, having disobeyed an order of court which granted bail to the accused person.”

He added: “A party who disobeyed the order of the court cannot come back to the same court with a request or indulgence.”

In the application, Dasuki is praying for an order of court prohibiting the FG from prosecuting him further on the alleged N19 billion fraud or any other charge, or seeking any form of indulgence before any court in the country, until the order admitting him to bail is obeyed.

The case was earlier stalled on Thursday, but was adjourned due to the absence of the defense counsel, who wrote to the court that he had to be in Kogi State for an election petition matter.

The court had then on Thursday compelled the Federal Government to produce Dasuki to answer criminal charges brought against him.

The trial judge, Justice Baba Yusuf had chided the FG over its failure to bring Dasuki to court. Justice Yusuf at that point stood down the trial for two hours and insisted that the trial will not be conducted until Dasuki was brought before him as required by law.

Security operatives who had taken Dasuki to custody in the last six weeks produced him when the reality dawned on them that the judge will not change position.

Dasuki was brought to the court around 11:00am in compliance with the court order under tight security but the trial could not proceed because of the absence of his counsel.

Justice Baba Yusuf had on December 18, 2015, granted bail to Dasuki and the rest of his co-accused bail in the sum of N250 million with one surety in relation to 19 counts of misappropriation of about N32 billion meant for purchase of arms.

Also on December 21, 2015 Justice Peter Affen granted bail to Dasuki and his co-defendants with respect to 22 counts of misappropriation of ‎about N13 billion, which was part of the arms fund, in the sum of N250 million with two sureties in like sum.

However, upon being released from prison after meeting the bail conditions, he was reportedly re-arrested by operatives of the Department of State Services.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja had on Wednesday ordered the FG to produce Dasuki before him on February 16 to answer another set of criminal charges.

Justice Ademola maintained that it was wrong of the government to have expected the court to conduct a criminal trial in the absence of the defendant and in violation of the law.

However, yesterday at the FCT High Court, Dasuki’s defence counsel, Joseph Daudu requested an order discharging him of all the offenses contained in the charge on the ground that “the charge cannot be lawfully‎ prosecuted by a government that is in brazen disobedience of a lawful court order.”

Also, he prayed for an order staying further proceedings in the charge until he has exhausted the remedies available to him in law for the enforcement of his client’s right to liberty as preserved by the bail order granted him.

Prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), noted that the defence is employing delay tactics in order to stall the trial.

Counsel to the second and third defendants, Akin Olujinmi (SAN) and Solomon Umoh, in their submissions, told the court that they were just served in court the processes filed by Dasuki and government and that they need time to study it.

After both counsels prayed for an adjournment of the trial, Justice Yusuf consequently adjourned the case till February 4, 2016.

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