Dasukigate: EFCC counsel expressed frustration over continuous absence of Dasuki, seeks unbundling of case
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday, told an FCT High Court that the Commission will seek a court order for separate trial for former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) from seven other defendants.
Dasuki is being tried in two separate cases alongside other defendants before Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf by EFCC since 2015 on alleged misappropriation of fund meant for arms.
At the resumed sitting in case FCT/HC/CR/43/2015, EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, expressed frustration over the continuous absence of Dasuki, who is the first defendant in the case.
He informed the court that the prosecution had filed a motion dated Nov. 4, seeking the continuation of trial in Dasuki’s absence, adding that the prosecution was served with a counter affidavit this morning.
Jacobs , however, said that the best thing to do in the present circumstance was the unbundling of the case so that Dasuki would be separated from other defendants.
He Lamented the frustration with going on with the case, and said , “We can’t be in the same place for four years without moving.”
He, therefore, told the court that the charge against the defendants might be amended to remove Dasuki’s name to enable other defendants face their trial without further delays.
He said that he would file separates charge against other defendants in both cases in which Dasuki is involved before the court and sought for an adjournment to do so.
Responding to this, counsel for Baba-Kusa, Mr Solomon Umoh, SAN, submitted that what Jacobs was suggesting did not have any place in the book.
Umoh, said Dasuki is central to the charge against other defendants, adding that, “if he is separated, how can we get a fair hearing?”
Justice Baba-Yusuf, however, gave an open adjournment and asked the prosecution to file the amendment and serve same on the defendants for them to come to court and take their fresh plea.
In another development, Umoh made an oral application for the release of Baba-Kusa’s international passport to enable him perform Umrah (lesser Hajj).
This was not opposed by the prosecution, Jacobs stated that the second defendant had been abiding with the court’s directive.
In the first case, with number FCT/HC/CR/42/2015, he was charged alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda; a former Sokoto State governor, Attahiru Bafarawa, his son, Sagir and his company, Dalhatu Investment Limited.
They are facing a 25-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, misappropriation of public fund to the tune N19.4 billion.
In the second case, numbered FCT/HC/CR/43/2015, Dasuki is facing trial alongside a former General Manager, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Baba- Kusa and two firms: Acacia Holdings Limited and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited.
They were first charged in November, 2015 on a 19-count charge bordering on money laundering and breach of trust to the tune of N13.5 billion alongside a former Director of Finance and Administration, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Shuaibu Salisu, who was later removed from the charge.
Other defendants were on May 16, 2018 re arraigned on an amended 32-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, dishonest release and receiving various sums of money to the tune of N33.2 billion misappropriation.
For sometime now, hearing of both cases was being stalled by the continued absence of Dasuki in court.
EFCC told the court on that Dusuki vowed that he would not appear in court for trial until such a time the government comply with the court order releasing him from the custody of the Department of State Service on bail. (NAN )