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Arms deal: FG’s failure to produce Dasuki in court stalls trial again

The Federal Government has again failed to produce the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (retd), before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, for trial in the charges of money laundering and breach of trust slammed against him and others, since last year.

The former NSA, who was charged along with five others before Justice Peter Affen, was granted bail when he was first arraigned but re-arrested and had being kept in custody of the Department of the State Security  (DSS) since December 2015.

Others, who are being prosecuted along with Dasuki for allegedly  diverting funds earmarked for procurement of arm to fight the Boko Haram insurgents in the North East,  include a former Director of Finance in the office of NSA, Shuaibu Salisu, a former Minister of State, (finance), Bashir Yuguda, a former Sokoto State governor, Attahiru Bafarawa, the ex-governor’s son, Sagir Attahiru and a firm, Dalhatu Investment.

When the matter came up on Thursday, counsel to the Federal Government, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, informed the court that he was surprised that Dasuki, who was the second defendant in the charge, was not brought to court by the Federal Government.

The counsel explained that on his part, he notified the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of the trial and the need to produce Dasuki in court but regretted that communication gap between the EFCC and DSS, was responsible for non-production of the former NSA in court.

Jacobs, consequently, applied for a stand down of the case to enable his client produce Dasuki in court but however, could not give a definite time within which EFCC would produce the former-NSA in court.

The action of the prosecution provoked reactions from Chief Olajide Ayodele, counsel to former Minister of State for Finance, who vehemently opposed Jacobs request for stand down on the ground that the request, if granted, would not serve any useful purpose.

He said the failure of the prosecution to give a definite time within which Dasuki can be brought to court by either EFCC or DSS, was an indication that he has no knowledge of what was transpiring between EFCC and DSS on the matter.

In his ruling on the request to stand down the case, Justice Affen, agreed that it would be unfair to stand down the case without a definite time within which Dasuki could be produced in court.

The judge counselled the Federal Government to always do the needful to help the prosecution counsel by ensuring regular attendance of the former NSA in court and adjourned the matter till October 21.

Olajide, therefore, pleaded with the judge to grant adjournment in the trial as a better option so as not to keep the court and the lawyers waiting till eternity.

The position of the counsel was adopted by Mr Joseph Daudu, representing Dasuki and regretted that the Federal Government, which put the Ex-NSA on trial, was the one scuttling the trial.

Daudu said that since June 2016, when the matter was adjourned for today, the EFCC which initiated the trial on behalf of the Federal Government ought to have known that it has a responsibility to produce Dasuki in court as required by the law.

The former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Akin Olujimi, who represented for  Bafarawa, also opposed the request for stand down of the case without a definite time and also pleaded for an adjournment as done by other lawyers.

In his ruling on the request to stand down the case, Justice Affen, agreed that it would be unfair to stand down the case without a definite time within which Dasuki could be produced in court.

The judge counselled the Federal Government to always do the needful to help the prosecution counsel by ensuring regular attendance of the former NSA in court and adjourned the matter till October 21.

The Federal Government, had, in December 2015, arraigned Dasuki and five others in court on a 22-count charge of diversion of funds for arms/military equipment.