A new twist has been added to the Dasuki $2.1 billion dollar arms palaver, as the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) has questioned the federal government’s rights to put him on trial on the alleged mismanagement of funds meant forpurchase of arms.
He told an Abuja High Court Friday that government has no
moral and legal rights now to prosecute him having been in contempt of three high courts that admitted him on bail but which were not obeyed.
When the matter came up today (Friday), defense counsel, Joseph Daudu SAN brought an “unless application” challenging the disobedience of the Federal Government to the earlier bail granted Dasuki. Daudu submitted that the Federal Government cannot go ahead with the trial, having disobeyed an order of court which granted bail to the accused person.
He added that 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 Federal Government from further prosecuting him on the N19 billion alleged 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.
He also wants an order discharging him of all the offenses contained in the charge on ground that the charge cannot not lawfully prosecuted by a government that is in brazen disobedient of a lawful court order.
Alternatively, the ex NSA prays 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 right to liberty as preserved by the bail order granted him.
However, Prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs SAN noted the defense is employing a delay tactic in order to stall the trial.
In their own submissions, counsel to the 2nd and 3rd defendants, Chief Akin Olujinmi SAN and Solomon Umor 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.
They however prayed the court for an adjournment.
Justice Hussain Baba Yusuf consequently adjourned the case till February 4.
Other accused persons are former Director of Finanance and Administration in the Office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu, and a former Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Aminu Baba-Kusa, were present in court.
The case was earlier stalled on Thursday 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 on Thursday compelled the Federal Government to produce Dasuki to answer criminal charges brought against him.
The trial judge, Justice Baba Yusuf had earlier chided the federal government over its failure to bring Dasuki to court.
The court at that point stood down the trial for two hours and insisted that the trial will not be conducted until Dasuki had been brought before him as required by law.
Security operatives who had taken the accused person to custody in the past six weeks went to bring him out when the reality downed on them that the Judge will not shift position.
Dasuki was however brought to the court around 11:00a.m. in compliance with the court order under a tight security.
But the trial could not go ahead because of the absence of his counsel.
It will be recalled that Justice Baba Yusuf had on December 8, 2015 granted bail to Dasuki and the rest of his co-accused bail in the sum of N250m with one surety in relation to 19 counts of misappropriation of about N32bn meant for purchase of arms.
Also on December 21, 2015 Justice Peter Affen granted bail to Dasuki and his co-defendants with respect to another sent 22 counts of misappropriation of about N13bn, which was part of the arms fund, in the sum of N250m with two sureties in like sum.
But upon being released from prison after meeting the bail conditions, he was reportedly re-arrested by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).
It is also recalled that Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had on Wednesday ordered the
federal government to produce Dasuki before him on February 16 to answer another sets 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.
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