$2.1bn Arms Fund: FG Files 32 Amended Charges Against Dasuki, Others

Again, Nigerian Government Seeks Secret Trial For Dasuki, ex-NSA Objects

The trial of former National Security Adviser (NSA) Colonel Mohammed Sambo Dasuki in the alleged diversion of $2.1billion arms funds is facing a fresh delay as the Federal Government filed 32 count amended charges against him and three others.

The filing of the amended charge is coming almost three years after the Federal Government arraigned the former NSA before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on 18 count charge.

In the amended charges names of prominent politicians from the opposition party are listed as beneficiaries of the alleged diversions

Apart from filing new charges with fresh names, a new twist was also introduced into the trial by the government as a key defendant in the matter. Salisu Shuaib, who was a former Director of Finance and Supply in the ONSA under Colonel Dasuki was dropped from the new charge.

READ ALSO: Alleged N4.9bn Money Laundering: Trial Of Fani-Kayode, Others Stalled

The amended charge dated April 30, 2018 was signed by Mr Chile Okoroma, Director of Legal Services with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

No reason could be immediately obtained on why the former Director of Finance in ONSA who served along with Colonel Dasuki was dropped from the trial having being arraigned together since 2015.

However, lead counsel to Dasuki, Mr Ahmed Raji, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who was sighted at the FCT High Court along with Dasuki told judiciary correspondents that he did not know the deal between Salisu Shuaib, the Federal Government and EFCC on the new twist.

Raji, however, said that subsequent events in the trial will reveal to the defendants and their counsel all the circumstances leading to the dropping of the core accused, adding that “till then we will keep our fingers crossed.”

Apart from Dasuki, other defendants in the amended charge are Aminu Baba Kusa, Acacia Holding Limited and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited.

Prominent Nigerians alleged by the Federal Government to have been beneficiaries of money from the former NSA are the current National Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus, former Chairman Board of Trustee PDP, Tony Anenih; former PDP Spokesperson, Olisa Metuh; Publisher of Thisday, Nduka Obaigbena, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, Chairman DAAR Communications Plc, Raymond Dokpesi, Mouftah Baba-Ahmed, Bello Abba Mohammed, Bello Mohammed, AVM M. N Umar, Jonah Ogunniyi among others.

Meanwhile, Secondus and Dokpesi have since filed a separate suit against the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed over the inclusion of their names in the list of persons who have allegedly looted the nation’s treasury.

Media entrepreneur, Dokpesi, in the suit filed before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory instituted N5billion defamation suit against Mohammed.

Secondus, before a high court in Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital asked the court to award him the sum of N1.5billion as damages for “humiliation, castigation, vilification attack on his person and integrity as a result of the publication.”

It would be recalled that Dasuki, Salisu Shuaibu and three others were arraigned in 2015 on the same charge and pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.

They were subsequently admitted to bail but however, Colonel Dasuki was re-arrested after perfecting the bail conditions on December 29, 2015, and had been in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) without filing any other charge against him.

The trial had since suffered series of delays at the instance of the Federal Government most especially in the inability of the DSS to produce the ex-NSA in court for trial as required by law.

Meanwhile, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of the FCT High Court is expected to take the fresh plea of the four defendants on May 17, 2018.

Uche Secondus Elected As PDP National Chairman

Uche Secondus being sworn in as PDP’s National Chairman

A former acting Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Uche Secondus, has emerged as the party’s National Chairman, ending its long and troubled quest to elect leaders after it suffered defeat in the 2015 Presidential election.

Mr Secondus defeated a former Minister of Education, Professor Tunde Adeniran, Founder of Daar Communications, Raymond Dokpesi, as well as a Former Minister of Sports and Special Duties, Taoheed Adedoja, in a controversial election at its national convention which commenced on Saturday at the Eagles Square in Abuja.

The results of the elections, announced by the immediate past Governor of Benue State and Chairman of the electoral committee, Mr Gabriel Suswam, showed that Secondus polled 2,000 votes, compared to the 231 votes secured by Professor Adeniran and the 66 votes that went to Dokpesi in the election.

Shortly after he was declared the winner of the election, around 3:30 am on Sunday, Mr Secondus was sworn in.

Twenty other elected officials were sworn in right after that, ensuring that there was no vacuum in the party’s leadership as the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee was dissolved ahead of the elections.

The election has, however, been condemned by both of his challengers as fraudulent with Professor Adeniran calling for its cancellation.

It wasn’t long after voting commenced that the process turned controversial. A ‘Unity List’ allegedly compiled by governors and which was circulated to some delegates led to discontent and allegations of fraud.

The list contained the names of purported ‘unity candidates’ identified for delegates to vote, a development which Adeniran and Dokpesi said amounted to rigging.

Although Adeniran walked out of the convention in protest, the process continued.

All of the candidates that were declared victorious in the election and subsequently sworn in were on the ‘Unity List’.

See the winners as declared by Suswam below:

1. National Chairman – Uche Secondus (Rivers, South-South).

2. Deputy National Chairman, South – Yemi Akinwonmi (Ogun, South West); unopposed.

3. Deputy National Chairman, North – Senator Gamawa Babawo Garba (Bauchi, North East); defeated six others.

4. National Secretary – Senator Umaru Ibrahim Tsauri (Katsina, North-West); defeated others

5. Deputy National Secretary – Emmanuel Agbo (Benue, North Central); defeated four others

6. National Organising Secretary – Austin Akobundu (Abia, South East); defeated two others

7. Deputy National Organising Secretary – Hassan Yakubu (Nasarawa, North Central); unopposed

8. National Publicity Secretary – Kola Ologbondiyan (Kogi, North Central); defeated four others

9. Deputy National Publicity Secretary – Diran Odeyemi (Osun, South West); defeated two others

10. National Financial Secretary – Abdullahi Husseini Maibasara (Niger, North Central)

11. Deputy National Financial Secretary – Irona Alphonsus Gerald (Imo, South-East); defeated on contestant

12. National Treasurer – Aribisala Adewale (Ekiti, South-West); unopposed

13. Deputy National Treasurer – Wada Masu (Kano, North West); defeated one contestant

14. Deputy National Auditor – Miss Amina Arong (Cross River, South-South); unopposed

15. National Auditor – Adamu Mustafa (Yobe, North East); unopposed

16. National Women Leader Mariya Waziri (Kebbi, North West); defeated one contestant.

17. Deputy National Women Leader – Umoru Hadizat (Edo, South-South); defeated three others.

18. National Youth Leader Udeh Okoye (Enugu State, South East); defeated three others.

19. Deputy National Youth Leader – Umar Babangida Maina (Adamawa, North East); defeated Yahaya Salisu

20. National Legal Adviser – Emmanuel Enoidem (Akwa Ibom, South-South); defeated two others.

21. Deputy National Legal Adviser – Ahmed Bello Liman (Sokoto, North West); Unopposed.

Nine candidates had been in the National Chairmanship race as of Friday evening, seven from the South West and two – Secondus and Dokpesi – from the South-South.

Six of the candidates from the South-West, however, pulled out of the race starting late on Friday with a former National Deputy Chairman of the party, Bode George.

Before the election commenced, Professor Adeniran became the sole candidate from the South West.

 

Court Dismisses Dokpesi’s Suit Against APDA Leadership

Court Dismisses Dokpesi's Suit Against APDA Leadership

An Abuja High Court has dismissed a suit filed by Mr Raymond Dokpesi, seeking to remove the national leaders of the Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA).

Mr Dokpesi had on August 17, 2017, approached the court with claims that he founded the party and appointed its national chairman, Mr Shitu Mohammed, and the secretary, Mr Emeka Okengwu.

He asked the court to affirm him as the chairman of APDA’s Board of Trustees, as well as sack the Shitu-led National Working Committee and National Executive Committee of the party.

Delivering judgement on the suit on Thursday, Justice Yusuf Halilu affirmed that the defendants were elected in January with a resolution submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Justice Halilu added that the electoral body had recognised the officers and made several correspondences with the chairman, Shitu.

The judge also said INEC had equally cautioned Dokpesi in a letter addressed to him that the party cannot have a board of trustees until after five years, as stipulated by APDA’s constitution.

Based on the submissions of the defendants, the court held that Shitu and Okengwu remained the national chairman and secretary, as well as the authentic and recognised leaders of APDA.

Justice Halilu, however, said that apart from the fact that Dokpesi’s action lacked integrity, he has no “locus standi” to approach the court in the first instance, stressing that the party never had a board of trustees.

Desperation For Reelection Caused Latest Looting – Prof Sagay

LootingNigerians could be in for more surprises in the New Year as more high profile personalities might face trial in 2016.

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption, Professor Itsey Sagay, in an exclusive interview with Channels Television’s political correspondent, Seun Okinbaloye, said that the last set of looting of the nation’s wealth was in desperation to win elections at all cost.

“What I saw from all I have put together is that this last set of looting arose out of determination for reelection. Money was being distributed recklessly and thoughtlessly in order to get back to power at any cost.

“The evidence is still hot, the witnesses are present. The amounts are huge and unprecedented; amounts that have crippled the government from functioning effectively.

“The only thing you can do is to go after those first and there is much. I can tell you that the corruption is at every level; from these prominent politicians to the lowliest civil servants and even private sector.

“But the ones in the public sector, over which these high profile politicians are involved, I suspect, (would make up) probably over 90% in terms of assets that have been stolen.

“Those are the things that have to be dealt with first because they are immediate. So it is not discriminatory, it just happened that the people in government are doing these things. We are all living witnesses of what happened in the NSA’s office.

“You cannot overlook those things and say ‘oh they may suspect me of being selective’. If you leave it then you have left the substance,” he said.

Professor Sagay gave the assurance that the present government remains committed to fighting corruption at all levels but acknowledged the need for caution.

“My personal view, not the committee’s view and certainly not the government’s view, is that the position of the President is a sensitive one. If somebody has been a president before he should be very careful in thinking of any physical thing like incarceration and so on.”

He added, “Efficient investigation, effective prosecution, speedy adjudication and effective sanctions. Those are the four policies we are working on.

“You’re going to see slowness at the beginning but the results, when they begin to come, will make a great impact – a decisive departure from the past.”