An Abuja High Court has again reaffirmed the bail granted former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki and five others in the arms deal trial involving $2.1bn.
Justice Baba Yusuf reaffirmed the bail on Dasuki on the ground that it is an indisputable fact that former NSA was admitted to bail in 2015 and that it would be in the interest of justice to reaffirm the same bail irrespective of the action of another arm of government.
Counsel to Dasuki, Mr Ahmed Raji applied to the court to reaffirm the bail granted to the former NSA even though he has not been allowed to enjoy same since December 2015.
He urged Justice Baba Yusuf to adopt the bail conditions earlier granted Dasuki before Justice Affen and reaffirm same in the interest of justice.
Dasuki and five others were re-arraigned before Justice Baba Yusuf 22 count charge on that were transferred from Justice Peter Affen of the FCT High Court to which they all pleaded not guilty.
Others charged alongside Dasuki are former Minister of State for Finance, Mallam Bashir Yuguda; a former Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) Shuaibu Salisu; Dalhatu Investment; Sagir Attahiru Bafarawa and a former Sokoto State Governor, Attahiru Bafarawa.
The trial of the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki , before a Federal Capital Territory High Court for alleged $2.1bn arms fund misappropriation, has been put off to January 25, 2017.
The adjournment of the trial followed the absence of one of the defendants in the trial, Mr Salisu Shuaibu, a former Director of Finance and Account in the office of the National Security Adviser, who was said to have taken ill and hospitalised.
Information on the condition of the defendant was conveyed to the court by the prosecution counsel, Mr Oluwaleke Atolagbe, who told Justice Baba Yusuf that he had been served with the medical report of the defendant confirming that he had been hospitalised.
Mr Atolagbe informed the court that the trial could not proceed in the absence of the defendant and therefore applied for a short adjournment pending the recovery of the defendant.
While counsel to Shuaib, apologised for the absence of his client, lawyers to other defendants in the suit did not object to the application for adjournment on the ground that Mr Salisu had always been present in court since the charge was filed against them.
Justice Yusuf in his brief ruling, agreed that since the charge was filed, the second defendant had never been absent in court and that for that reason, the court is obliged to grant the request for the adjournment and subsequently adjourned to January 25, 2017.
Justice Yusuf also adjourned a second case against the defendants which was transferred from Justice Peter Affen to January 24, 2017 for mention.
Justice Baba Yusuf of the Federal Capital Territory High Court 4, has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to release the former FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed on bail.
The erstwhile Minister had been in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission since October 24, 2016 when he honoured the invitation of commission.
The Court granted him bail with two sureties who must have landed property within the Abuja Municipality with Certificate of Occupancy.
In granting the application for bail filed by the lead counsel to Mr Mohammed, Chris Uche, the High Court took a swipe at the EFCC for manifesting contradictions and for lying under oath with the depositions in the counter affidavit it filed challenging the bail application.
The court adjourned the matter till December 14, 2016 for the hearing of the substantive suit for the enforcement of the fundamentalist rights of the former minister.
The trial of the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, in two High Courts in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja for alleged money laundering and breach of trust has been streamlined.
This followed the transfer of the two cases against Dasuki and other defendants from FCT High Court into one for quick and effective trial.
The Chief Judge of the FCT Judiciary, Justice Ishaq Bello, ordered the transfer of charges before Justice Peter Affem to the court of Justice Baba Yusuf, as the only Judge that would now conduct the trial.
Though Colonel Dasuki has been granted bails by all the courts involved in his trials, he has remained in the custody of Department of State Services (DSS) since November 2015.
The movement of the two charges into one court was at the instance of lawyers to the Federal Government and that of all the defendants in the matters.
The lead prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacob, confirmed to reporters that the two charges in two different courts would now be conducted by a single court to ensure effective and speedy trial of the case.
He also said that with the movement of the charges into one court, the issue of consolidation of the charges would no longer arise having been overtaken by event.
Meanwhile, Justice Yusuf has fixed November 16, 2016 for the trial.
In The Interest Of Justice
At the last hearing on October 5, 2016 before Justice Baba Yusuf, the Federal Government agreed to consolidate the criminal charges filed against Colonel Dasuki and others before the two different FCT High Courts.
This followed a complaint by Colonel Dasuki that putting him on trial in two different courts on the same issues was abuse of judicial process that would prejudice and cause double jeopardy.
The counsel to the government, Mr Jacob and that of Dasuki, Mr Joseph Daudu agreed before Justice Yusuf to formally write the chief judge of the FCT judiciary, Justice Bello to consolidate the two charges in the interest of Justice.
The two senior counsels then applied to Justice Yusuf to adjourn the matter pending the time the chief judge would consider the application for consolidation.
The judge, who was then billed to give ruling on Dasuki’s motion for consolidation, put off the ruling because of understanding between the prosecution and the defence and adjourned the matter till October 21, 2016.
The decision to consolidate the charges followed a complaint by the counsel to the former NSA, Mr Joseph Daudu.
Mr Daudu had argued that putting him on trial in two different courts on the same issues and subject would prejudice and cause him double jeopardy.
At the resumption of the trial, counsel to the Federal Government, Mr Rotimi Jacobs and that of Dasuki, Mr Dudu agreed before Justice Baba Yusuf to formally write the Chief Judge of the FCT judiciary, Justice Ishaq Bello, to consolidate the two charges in the interest of justice.
The two senior counsel applied to the trial judge, Justice Yusuf to adjourn the matter pending the time the Chief Judge would consider the application for consolidation.
Justice Yusuf obliged the parties and adjourned the case to the October 21, 2016.
Dasuki had been put on trial before Justice Yusuf and another charge was filed against him before Justice Peter Affen both of the FCT High Court on the same issue and subject.
Earlier, the Federal Government gave an indication that it would not immediately obey the ECOWAS court’s instruction to release Colonel Dasuki.
The government asked for time to study the Judgement.
The court on Tuesday ordered the release of Colonel Dasuki, describing the detention as “unlawful and an arbitrary violation of his fundamental human rights”.
The Federal Government had detained and seized property of the former NSA during Goodluck Jonathan’s regime for alleged money laundering and illegal possession of firearms.
Charges were brought against him by the Department of State Services (DSS).
The ECOWAS court also held that investigating Colonel Dasuki for allegedly committing or planning to commit a crime was not enough ground to detain him since December 2015.
However, the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on behalf of the government insisted that the Federal Government of Nigeria needed some time to study the content of the ruling before acting on it.
The government has also argued that it needed to fully understand the content of the court’s proceedings and judgement before reacting.
Mr Malami said: “We cannot just react. We will first of all study the judgement to understand its content before taking a stand”.
The Attorney General’s views were conveyed to Channels Television on October 5, by his Special Adviser on Publicity, Mr Salisu Isah.
Dasuki, who spoke through his counsel, Mr Joseph Daudu, claimed that President Buhari unjustly instigated his arrest and detention by the DSS against the bail granted him by three different courts in various criminal charges brought against him by the Federal Government.
He claimed that the President, through his comments on the presidential media chat in January 2016, confirmed that he was behind his ordeal.
In a further and better affidavit filed in support of his application at the FCT High Court, the ex-NSA claimed that the President betrayed his emotion during the Presidential Media Chat when he openly told Nigerians that he (Dasuki) and Nnamdi Kanu would not be allowed on bail because they would jump bail.
The trial of former National Security Adviser, Clo. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) was on Wednesday stalled due to the inability of the prosecutors to produce him in court.
The erstwhile security chief was alleged to have refused to appear in court.
At the resumed hearing, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, told Justice Baba Yusuf that Mr. Dasuki refused to be in court on the grounds that his lawyers, Joseph Daudu and Ahmed Raji, would not be in court.
He also added that he tried to convince the defendant to come to court and see how the proceedings would be conducted, but he (Dasuki) refused.
Mr Jacobs, therefore urged the court to commence trial in the absence of the defendant.
However, defence counsel, Mr Wale Balogun, urged Justice Baba Yusuf to disregard the claim of the prosecution, maintaining that as of Wednesday, Mr. Dasuki was still denied access to his lawyers.
Mr. Balogun described Mr Jacob’s claim, allegedly obtained from a third party, that Mr Dasuki’s lawyers never attempted to see him as “baseless and unwarranted”
Mr. Dasuki’s lawyer said on the contrary it was the SSS and the prosecution that scuttled the trial by their deliberate refusal to produce the defendant who has been in their custody since last year in court.
The presiding judge, in his remarks, said the case cannot commence without the defendant.
Justice Yusuf therefore adjourned the case to April 6 for the prosecution to produce the defendant in court.
The anti-graft agency had in the charge it filed before an Abuja High Court sitting at Maitama, alleged that Dasuki connived with the erstwhile Director of Finance in the Office of the NSA, Mr. Shuaibu Salisu and a former Executive Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aminu Baba-Kusa, and diverted public funds to the tune of N32billion.
Two companies, Acacia Holding Limited and Reliance Referal Hospital Limited, which allegedly served as conduit pipes through which the fund was allegedly siphoned from accounts the office of the NSA operated with both the Central Bank of Nigeria and other financial institutions, were also joined as defendants to the charge.
An Abuja High Court has restrained Alhaji Sadiq Massalla and Dr Ifedi Okwenna from parading themselves as the Acting National Chairman and Acting National Secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
The Court presided over by Justice Baba Yusuf, on Tuesday, gave the order after hearing an ex-parte application moved by Counsel to the Party Patrick, Ikwueto.
The court also restrained Massalla and Okwenna from convening, calling or organizing or holding any meeting of any organ of the party.
The two were also barred from interfering in any manner whatsoever in the affairs of APGA at any level pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice which has been fixed for August 16th, 2012.
APGA’s national chairman, Chief Victor Umeh and national secretary Alhaji Sani Shinkafi had in a motion ex-parte asked the court to restrain the duo from interfering in the affairs of the party as they have been suspended from the party since June 19th 2012.
In a 37 paragraph affidavit deposed to by Shinkafi, he averred that the defendants were members of the National Working Committee of the party until June 19th when they began a dissident campaign against the National leadership of the Party.