$2.1b Arms Deal: FG Agrees To Consolidate Charges Against Dasuki, Others

FG, ECOWAS Court, DasukiThe Nigerian government has agreed to consolidate the criminal charges filed against the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and others.

They are standing trial before two different High Courts of the Federal Capital Territory Judiciary.

This is coming barely 24 hours after the ECOWAS court ordered the Federal Government to release Dasuki from the indefinite detention he had been kept in since December 2015.

The decision to consolidate the charges followed a complaint by the counsel to the former NSA, Mr Joseph Daudu.

ECOWAS-court
ECOWAS court says Colonel Sambo Dasuki’s detention is unlawful

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.

ECOWAS-court-lawyers
Lawyer at the ECOWAS court hearing

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.

Sambo-Dasuki-and-Muhammadu-Buhari
Colonel Sambo Dasuki claimed President Muhammadu Buhari was behind his continued detention

In February, Colonel Dasuki accused President Muhammadu Buhari of being behind his arrest and detention without trial since December 29, 2015.

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.

Court Orders A Neutral Place For Dasuki To Brief Lawyers

DasukiAn Abuja high court has overruled the federal government in its decision to confine the detained former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki to the premises of the Department of the State Security Service to access and brief his lawyer on the charges of corruption brought against him.

The court ordered that former NSA must be allowed to access and brief his lawyers at a neutral place instead of the premises of the DSS headquarters in Abuja so as to enable him prepare adequately for his defense in the trial.

Justice Husain Baba Yusuf, who issued the order directed that henceforth the detained former NSA should be allowed by the DSS operatives to access his lawyers within the premises of the Federal Capital Territory judiciary headquarters in Maitama, Abuja between Monday to Friday during the week.

The pronouncement of Justice Baba Yusuf followed a complaint by Dasuki’s lawyer, Mr Adeola Adedipe, that the legal team for Dasuki had not been allowed to have direct access to him in spite of a court order made on April 6.

At the resumed hearing of the case, counsel to the federal government, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) had told the judge that the case was slated for commencement of trial and that he was fully ready with his witnesses that will testify in the case.

However, Adedipe rose and informed the court that he was not ready for any trial because the ruling of April 6 which ordered DSS to allow them access their client for briefing so as to prepare his defence has not been complied with by the security agency.

The counsel claimed that a letter by Dasuki’s team of lawyers to the DSS asking for the order to be enforced was replied by the prosecuting counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, who said that access to Dasuki would be granted at a convenient room at the DSS headquarters.

Court Adjourns Dasuki’s Appeal Hearing

Sambo-Dasuki-trialThe hearing of an appeal filed by Nigeria’s former National Security adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, has been adjourned to a date that would be communicated to parties in the suit.

The Appeal Court could not hear the appeal following the inability of the Federal Government to file its brief of argument.

The counsel to the Federal Government, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, had told the justices of the court that the former NSA’s brief of argument was served on him last week and that by the practice of the court, he had 10 days to file his response.

He then applied for a short adjournment to enable him file his response which was obliged.

However, the Justice Abdul Aboki-led panel said that the date for hearing would be reserved until all processes had been filed.

Colonel Sambo Dasuki, had on March 3, also asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to stop his trial. He also asked the court to set aside the criminal charges of unlawful possession of fire arms brought against him by the Federal Government.

Dasuki told the court that the Federal Government no longer had moral and legal rights to continue his trial, having disobeyed the order of bail granted him since Nov 3, 2015.

The Court refused his application as the trail judge, Justice Peter Affem, held that contrary to the application by Colonel Dasuki, it was the Department of State Services (DSS), which was not a party in the suit that arrested Colonel Dasuki and not the EFCC.

He agreed with the anti-graft agency that it had not flouted any part of the orders releasing the former National Security Adviser (NSA) on bail.

Meanwhile, an Abuja High Court on April 6, fixed May 3 for Colonel Dasuki’s trial on charges bordering on alleged diversion of funds meant for the purchase of arms for soldiers fighting insurgency in northeast Nigeria.

He has denied the charges.

 

Mild Drama At CCT Over Accusations Of Chairman’s Alleged Bias

SarakiThere was mild drama at the Code of Conduct Tribunal during the trial of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki on Thursday as the Chairman of the CCT, Justice Danladi Umar ordered the arrest of the defence counsel for alleged contempt of court.

At the continuation of hearing, defense lawyer, Mr Raphael Oluyede wanted the chairman to attend to his application of alleged bias by Justice Umar, which makes him not qualified to continue with the case.

He also raised an allegation of a corruption case against the judge pending with the EFCC.

But the prosecution lawyer, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, told the tribunal that Mr Oluyede should not be allowed to file the suit because he has not been representing the accused on the motion.

Chairman of the Tribunal ruled Oluyede out of order because he was not a party in the suit and a member of the defence team.

According to the Chairman, the counsel was only announced as part of the team on Wednesday and cannot file the motion because he was not part of the team and is also not ripe for hearing because the application is based on falsehood.

The Chairman added that he filed the application without the consent of the defendant or his lead counsel as reported by the prosecution counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs.

Counsel to Dr. Bukola Saraki, Mr Oluyede got in an argument with the Chairman of the tribunal and was arrested by the Police on the orders of the Chairman of the tribunal.

But the prosecuting counsel pleaded with the Chairman not to effect the arrest which allowed the trial to continue.

Order was later restored and the proceedings continued. One of the defence counsels, Mr Paul Usoro continued cross examination of the prosecution’s witness, Michael Wekpas.

Mr Wekpas claimed the strength of the investigation team is based on the statement of account which allegedly shows clear narration of transactions in respect of sums transferred abroad.

While continuing his narration, another witness, Usman Imam also admitted like the first witness that he was not a member of the team that interviewed the defendant but was briefed by the team leader Mr Musa Sunday.

He added that his own team made some discoveries before reports were harmonized.

Meanwhile, the prosecution has filed an amendment charge against the Senate President while the lead counsel to the accused is requesting that hearing be adjourned for one week to allow them study the charges.

Justice Umar granted the request and adjourned the case till next Wednesday April 27.

CCT Rules It Has Jurisdiction To Proceed With Saraki’s Trial

sarakiThe Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has ruled that it has jurisdiction in the case of alleged falsification of assets brought against Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

The Tribunal says the natural thing to do is to proceed with the trial in spite of a request for an adjournment by counsel to the Senate President, Mr Paul Usoro.

“We adjourned to today to commence with trial. Even if the defence intends to appeal the judgment, it should not stop the proceedings of trial today, provided the prosecution is ready to proceed.

“In view of the foregoing we hold that trial shall proceed for hearing today and we are ready to take the witnesses,” the Tribunal said.

Counsel to the Senate President, Mr Paul Usoro, had asked for an adjournment when the trial of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on alleged falsification of assets resumed at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Tuesday.

He argued that on the basis of the fact that an appeal has been entered before the appellate court, the defendant filed a motion of stay of proceedings which is before the Registrar of the court.

Mr Usoro said that the process of appeal had been transmitted to the CCT and the record of appeal is before the tribunal.

He explained that the prayer for adjournment is to essentially allow the Court of Appeal to entertain and arrive at a decision in the appeal, which it has graciously fixed a clear date of April 26, 2016 to hear.

The Senate President’s counsel also requested that the case should be adjourned on the ground that he was appearing for the first time in he case and that he was not fully briefed of the matter.

The Principles of Fair Hearing requires that he should be allowed to either be properly briefed or for the lead counsel, Mr Kanu Agabi, to be allowed to return and handle the case.

The Prosecuting Counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, opposed the application.

According to him, the CCT had adjourned the matter for trial to commence and he was ready with his witnesses to commence trial.

He said that the defence is aware that what they are filing today cannot stop the proceedings.

He said that the request for an adjournment is not based on the motion served on the prosecution but on an application of stay of proceedings pending before the Court of Appeal.

He argued that he was served with a motion on stay at 10:20AM on Tuesday morning and since he was not served before the start of the business of the day, it cannot obstruct the trial that has been fixed for same day.

The prosecutor maintained that the appeal filed by Saraki is illegal, backing his argument with Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

The Code of Conduct Tribunal had on March 24 ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear the case against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki on alleged false declaration of his assets while he was Governor of Kwara State.

Dr. Saraki had raised objections on the jurisdiction of the tribunal in the previous sitting.

Lawyer to the Senate President, Kanu Agabi, had argued that the 13-count charge was invalid procedurally because the Code of Conduct Bureau which filed the charges, failed to allow Dr. Saraki explain discrepancies in his assets declaration forms as required by law.

The Chairman of the tribunal, Danladi Umar, ruled that there was no breach of law as the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, 1989, still allows the Senate President to raise his clarifications at the level of the tribunal.

The tribunal also ordered the prosecution to produce its witnesses.

Alleged False Assets Declaration: CCT Says It Has Jurisdiction In Saraki’s Case

Bukola-SarakiThe Code of Conduct Tribunal has once again ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear the case against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki on alleged false declaration of his assets while he was governor of Kwara State.

Dr. Saraki had raised objections on the jurisdiction of the tribunal in the last sitting.

Lawyer to the Senate President, Kanu Agabi, had argued that the 13-count charge was invalid procedurally because the Code of Conduct Bureau which filed the charges, failed to allow Dr. Saraki explain discrepancies in his assets declaration forms as required by law.

The chairman of the tribunal, Danladi Umar, ruled that there was no breach of law as the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, 1989, still allows the Senate President to raise his clarifications at the level of the tribunal.

The tribunal also ordered the prosecution to produce its witnesses.

Mr. Umar said it does not matter how long a crime was committed as the federal government can initiate criminal proceeding anytime the crime is uncovered.

The federal government is being represented in the case by Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, while Mr. Agabi is leading 80 other lawyers in Dr. Saraki’s Defence.

In the charges instituted by the federal government, the Senate President is being accused of making false assets declaration in his forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau as a two-term governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.

The trial has been adjourned till April the 5th, 2016.

 

 

 

Badeh’s Trial Adjourned Until March 16

Alex BadehTrial of Nigeria’s former Defence Chief, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, has been adjourned till March 16.

The adjournment was made to enable the defence study the additional proof of evidence served on them by the prosecution.

At the resumed hearing on Monday, the counsel to Air Chief Marshal Badeh, Mr Akinjide Olujimi, informed the court that he had just been hired by the accused person and would need time to be properly briefed before he could defend his client.

He also told the court that the prosecution just served him additional proof of evidence, which he needed to also study in the interest of justice and fairness before trial could commence.

The former Defence chief’s counsel had also filed a bail application, but the prosecuting counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, urged the court to turn down the application on the ground that it was an attempt to scuttle the trial.

After consideration, the trail judge, Justice Okon Abang, turned down the bail application, on two other grounds.

He, however, said that there was merit in the request of the defence to study the additional proof of evidence to ensure that the law was fair to all sides in the matter.

Justice Abang adjourned the case to enable the defence study the additional proof of evidence.

Air Marshall Badeh is standing trial for alleged use of funds meant for the Nigeria Air Force to purchase choice property in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.

According to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, he illegally used Six million Naira to renovate his son’s house, which he purchased for 260 million Naira in Abuja between January and December 2013.

The former Defence Chief is also alleged to have used 876 million Naira belonging to the Nigerian Air Force to build a shopping mall in Abuja.

Alleged False Assets Declaration: Saraki’s Trial Stalled

sarakiThe trial of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki on alleged false assets declaration has failed to commence.

At the resumed hearing of the suit, counsel to the Senate President, Kanu Agabi told the tribunal that he had a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

According to the motion, the Senate President is contending that the Attorney -General of the Federation cannot prosecute him.

Reacting to the information, Counsel to the Federal Government, Mr Rotimi Jacobs told the court that the move was a delay tactic and an attempt to scuttle the trial.

According to him, the accused person knowing fully well that he is the prosecutor did not serve the application on him but instead served the Federal Ministry of Justice clearly indicating that they did not want trial to commence.

He told the court to dismiss the issue and go to the business of the day because he was ready for trial with his witnesses and evidence in tribunal.

However, Mr Agabi again told the tribunal that his application is a matter of law which must be settled before trial can commence.

Having listened to both parties, Chairman of the tribunal adjourned to March 18, 2016, to hear the motion and also commence with the trial.

The Code of Conduct Tribunal asked the defence lawyer to serve all the relevant processes to the prosecution before March 18, 2016.

The Supreme Court had on February 5, 2016 dismissed the appeal of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, against the judgment of the Appeal Court on his trial by the Code of Conduct Tribunal on charges of false asset declaration.

A seven-man bench, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, gave the judgment that the CCT was properly constituted to exercise jurisdiction over Saraki’s trial and has jurisdiction to try criminal matters.

FG Produces Dasuki In Court

dasukiThe Federal Government has produced former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) in court.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola had ordered the Department of State Services to produce Colonel Dasuki before the court today (Tuesday).

Justice Ademola gave the order after Colonel Dasuki failed to show up for trial on January 20, 2016.

Justice Ademola Adeniyi, in his order, said the court has not excused the former National Security Adviser from being present in court to face the criminal charges preferred against him by the Federal Government.

Colonel Dasuki is facing a 4-count charge of money laundering and illegal possession of firearms brought against him by the Department of State Services.

Trial judge, Adeniyi Ademola has, however, granted an adjournment based on the request of Dasuki’s counsel, Mr Joseph Daudu, who informed the court of a pending application he intends to argue.

FCT High Court Refuses To Discharge Dasuki

dasukiAn Abuja High Court has dismissed an application seeking to discharge the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki from charges of corruption filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Baba-Yusuf ruled that from the evidence and the facts before the court, the former National Security Adviser was released on December 29, 2015 having met his bail conditions.

The court held that it would be wrong to hold the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission responsible for the re-arrest since there is no evidence that the commission stopped the bail process.

The judge held that the Department of State Services (DSS), which re-arrested the former NSA, cannot be held in contempt because the bail order in the instant case does not cover the agency.

But the defence lawyer told the court that his client was not prepared for trial in custody of the Department of State Services, therefore he will approach the court to enforce his rights.

Dasuki’s lawyer, in his argument, had urged the court to prohibit the federal government from further prosecuting or further seeking any indulgence from the court until Colonel Dasuki is allowed to enjoy his bail.

He also asked the court to discharge the former NSA of all the offences contained in the charge against his client on the ground that the Federal Government cannot lawfully prosecute him, having been in contempt of the court.

He noted that Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf on December 18, 2015, granted bail to Colonel Dasuki and after perfecting his bail conditions, he was re-arrested on the orders of the federal government and taken to the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).

He added that since his client was rearrested, he has been kept away from his lawyers and family members.

However, the counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) Mr Rotimi Jacobs, informed the court that the motion was an abuse of court process because there was no evidence before the court, that the accused was rearrested by the EFCC.

Rather he was arrested by the Department of State for alleged breach of service law when he was in the Nigerian Army.

He further stated that the accused was a fugitive for seven years and that he is being investigated for series of alleged offences.

Dasuki To Know Fate February 8

DasukiA Federal High Court in Abuja will on Monday February 8, 2016, rule on whether to discharge the former National Security Adviser, (NSA) Colonel Sambo Dasuki from the criminal charges brought against him by the Federal Government.

Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf fixed the date after the counsel to Colonel Dasuki, Mr Joseph Duadu and counsel to the Federal Government, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, had addressed the court on a motion seeking the release of the former NSA.

In the motion argued by lawyer to Dasuki, the court was urged to prohibit the federal government from further prosecuting or further seeking any indulgence from the court until Colonel Dasuki is allowed to enjoy his bail.

Mr Daudu also asked the court to discharge the former NSA of all the offences contained in the charge against his client on the ground that the Federal Government cannot lawfully prosecute him, having been in contempt of the court.

He noted that Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf on December 18, 2015, granted bail to Colonel Dasuki and after perfecting his bail conditions, he was re-arrested on the orders of the federal government and taken to the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).

He added that since his client was rearrested, he has been kept away from his lawyers and family members.

Mister Daudu asked the court to compel the Federal Government to obey the court order.

However, the counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) Mister Rotimi Jacobs, informed the court that the motion was an abuse of court process because there was no evidence before the court, that the accused was rearrested by the EFCC.

Rather he was arrested by the Department of State for alleged breach of service law when he was in the Nigerian Army.

He further stated that the accused was a fugitive for seven years and that he is being investigated for series of alleged offences.

He advised the accused person to instead evoke section 46 of the Constitution and file a civil action to challenge his arrest and the enforcement of his fundamental human rights.

Metuh Files Human Rights Suit Against EFCC

MetuhThe National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Olisa Metuh has filed an abuse of human rights suit against the EFCC.

Counsel to Metuh, Mr Ifedayo Fadipe told the Abuja high court that his client was being held illegally by the commission beyond the time stipulated by law.

He asked the court to compel the commission to either release his client on administrative bail or charge him to court as required by law.

In the meantime, the EFCC has insisted it has a valid court order to detain Mr Olisa Metuh.

Counsel to the EFCC , Mr. Rotimi Jacobs said that contrary to the insinuation that Metuh is being held unlawfully, the commission had obtained an order of a court in line with the administration of Criminal Justice Act, approving the detention of the politician pending the completion of investigation into the allegations against him.

Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says it has filed a seven count charge of criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering against the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh.

Mr Metuh, according to the charges, transferred the sum of $1 million through his agent, Nneka Nicole Ararume, to one Sie Iyenome of Capital Field Investment committing an offense contrary to Section One of the Money Laundering Act.

He is also accused of receiving the sum of N400 million from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, without a contract contrary to the Money Laundering Act.

Mr Metuh, is also accused of converting the said money to funds for political activities of the People’s Democratic Party.