Dasuki Refused To Be Brought To Court – EFCC’s Lawyer

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission told Justice Baba Yusuf of a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama, Abuja, on Wednesday that the immediate past National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), refused to be brought to court for his trial.

 

The EFCC is prosecuting Dasuki and his co-accused ? a former Director of Finance and Administration in the NSA office, Shuaibu Salisu? and a former General Manager, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Aminu Babakusa ? on 19 counts of diversion of? N32bn meant for arms procurement.

 

Two companies – Acacia Holdings Limited and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited – belonging to Babakusa are also being accused.

Justice Yusuf had on February 8 fixed Wednesday for trial to begin after dismissing the application by Dasuki, seeking an order prohibiting the EFCC from further prosecuting him on account of his continued detention.

 

However, on Wednesday, Dasuki, who ?had remained in the custody of the Department of State Services since December 29, 2015, was not produced in court.

 

His two lead counsel, Messrs Joseph Daudu (SAN) and Ahmed Raji (SAN), were also absent from court.

But lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, informed the judge that Dasuki refused to be brought to court because the senior lawyers defending him would not be present in court on Wednesday.

“The first defendant said he would not be in court unless he is abducted because his lead counsel, J.B Daudu and Ahmed Raji, were not going to be in court,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs said Daudu had informed him of an application for stay of the proceedings of the trial which was filed before the Court of Appeal on behalf of the former NSA.

He maintained that the law never stopped an accused person in detention from facing trial.

He also alleged that Dasuki’s lawyers had deliberately refused to visit their client in the DSS’ custody so that they could continue to use the excuse of lack of access to hom (Dasuki) as an excuse to frustrate the case.

Jacobs said, “When a defendant is in custody, the counsel should be allowed access to the defendant.

“I asked the DSS whether the lawyers ever made attempt to see him, they said they never did. It is a deliberate plant to frustrate the trial.”

Counsel who represented Dasuki in court on Wednesday, Mr. Wale Balogun, however debunked the allegation that his client refused to be brought to court.

He said, “Concerning the allegation, the defence lawyer is not aware of it. The defendant is not in court. He has not been produced. It is the requirment of the law that he should be here. The proecution has not applied for the accused to be excused form court.

“The DSS official should have deposed to an affidavit? to that effect.”

The other defence lawyers, including Mr. Solomon Umoh (SAN), said the matter could not proceed due to Dasuki’s absence.

Justice Yusuf adjourned the case till April 6.

Another ?judge of the FCT High Court in Maitama, Abuja, Justice Peter Affen, before whom, Dasuki and others are being prosecuted for alleged diversion of N19bn arms fund had fixed ?April 20 and 22 for trial.

Justice Affend had fixed the date for trial after dismissing another application by Dasuki to stop his trial on account of his continued detention.

Dasuki’s co-accused with respect to the case includes a former Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu, and a former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda.

The other co-accused are, a former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, the ex-governor’s son, Sagir Attahiru, and a firm, Dalhatu Investment.

Meanwhile Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja had also fixed April 4 for ruling on similar application filed by Dasuki to stop his trial on four counts of money laundering and illegal possession of firearms.

 

Credit : Punch

$6b Arms Gate: Suspects’ Rights Not Violated —Falana

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, has said that the rights of suspects arrested in connection with the $6 billion arms scandal have not been violated, insisting they must face trial for crime against humanity.

 

He made this assertion in a statement he issued on Sunday, 6 December.
According to Falana, “last week, some of the principal suspects implicated in the probe of the $2.1 billion and N643 billion arms gate were nabbed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Pursuant to the ex-parte orders validly issued by the courts the suspects have since been detained for the purpose of investigation.
“But in a desperate move designed to divert the attention of the Nigerian people and the international community from the grave allegations of reckless and criminal diversion of the public funds earmarked for arms procurement to prosecute the war on terror, some reactionary politicians have accused the Buhari administration of engaging in impunity for detaining the suspects beyond 48 hours without trial. In challenging the detention of the suspects by the EFCC a senior lawyer (Mike Ozekhome SAN) was alleged to have said that ‘a magistrate court has no power to issue a holding charge warrant’.
“With respect, the detention of the suspects is in strict compliance with the rule of law. The attention of the “critics” ought to be drawn to sections 293-299 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 (ACJA) which stipulate that a suspect arrested for an offence which a magistrate has no jurisdiction to try, shall within a reasonable time, be brought before a magistrate court for remand. The order which shall be for a period not exceeding 14 days may be further extended provided that if the investigation is not concluded within 28 days the court may summon the appropriate authority to show cause why the suspect should not be unconditionally released.”
Falana also stated that “Suspects who are remanded in custody are at liberty to ask for bail or apply to the appropriate high court to secure the enforcement of their fundamental right to personal liberty. In view of the clear and unambiguous provisions of the law it is misleading to insist that a magistrate court lacks the power to grant the application filed by the EFCC for the detention of the criminal suspects.
“As corruption is already mobilizing to fight back, the Buhari administration should ignore the reckless campaign of calumny of certain people who have lost their sense of shame. As far as they are concerned the suspects should be left alone to enjoy their loot while soldiers are losing their precious lives due to lack of adequate weapons.”
He called on the federal government to ensure that all individuals and corporate bodies indicted in the criminal diversion of public funds are made to face the full wrath of the law.
“The anti-graft agencies should disregard the cheap blackmail, speed up the investigation and charge all indicted suspects to court while the courts are enjoined to conduct the trial of the suspects under the ACJA which requires that the trials be conducted day by day. The federal government should open a dedicated account to warehouse the recovered loot with a view to using the fund to provide equipment for the armed forces, create jobs for our army of unemployed graduates and fix our dilapidated public schools, hospitals and roads,” Falana said.
According to him, “it is pertinent to correct the error in respect of the extent of the amount of money involved in the arms gate. The well publicized $2.1 billion is the foreign component of the loot. The actual amount stolen is $2.1 billion and N643 billion. The total missing fund is $6 billion.
“In the light of the earth-shaking and ear-aching revelations oozing out of the EFCC to the effect that a handful of individuals cornered and shared the huge fund earmarked for the procurement of military hardware to prosecute the war on terror all the military officers and soldiers who have been convicted including the 70 who were sentenced to death should be released forthwith.
“As I have repeatedly maintained, the soldiers were committed and sentenced to death for asking for weapons to fight the terrorists. They were ordered to fight with unserviceable equipment on the ground that there was no money to purchase new weapons. In the process, the well-equipped insurgents routed and massacred thousands of the country’s ill-equipped soldiers due to the diversion of the fund set aside to purchase equipment.
“The suspects must bear full responsibility for committing such grave crimes against humanity. Consequently, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 we have applied for a certified true copy of the report of the arms procurement panel with a view to ensuring that some of the suspects are prosecuted by the Special Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.”
Former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki was arrested in connection with the scandal and he has implicated a lot of people, including media mogul and AIT/Raypower FM Radio founder, Raymond Dokpesi.