EFCC to seek court’s leave for separate trial of Dasuki, co-defendants

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Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday told a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court that the agency will seek a court order for separate trial for former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) from seven other defendants.

Dasuki, along other defendants, are being tried in two separate cases filed by the EFCC before Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf.

The suits were instituted in 2015 on alleged misappropriation of fund meant for the purchase of arms to fight insurgency and other insecurity matters.

At the resumed sitting in the case, EFCC counsel Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) expressed frustration over the continuous absence of Dasuki, who is the first defendant in the case.

The lawyer informed the court that the prosecution had filed a motion, dated November 4, 2019, seeking the continuation of trial in Dasuki’s absence.

He added that the prosecution was served with a counter affidavit this morning.

Jacobs said it was better, in the current circumstance, to unbundle the case so that Dasuki would be separated from other defendants.

The lawyer decried the frustration with the case, saying: “We can’t be in the same place for four years without moving.”

He told the court that the charge against the defendants might be amended to remove Dasuki’s name to enable other defendants face their trial without further delays.

Jacobs said he would file separate charges against other defendants in both cases in which Dasuki is involved before the court and sought for an adjournment to do so.

Baba-Kusa’s lawyer Solomon Umoh (SAN) submitted that what Jacobs was suggesting did not have any place in the legal book.

Umoh said Dasuki is central to the charge against other defendants, adding: “If he is separated, how can we get a fair hearing?”

Justice Baba-Yusuf gave an open adjournment and asked the prosecution to file the amendment and serve same on the defendants for them to come to court and take their fresh pleas.

Also, Umoh made an oral application for the release of Baba-Kusa’s international passport to enable him perform Umrah (lesser Hajj).

The prosecution did not oppose this, but Jacobs stated that the second defendant had been abiding by the court’s directive.

NAN reports that in the first case, Dasuki was charged alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda; a former Sokoto State Governor Attahiru Bafarawa; his son, Sagir, and his company, Dalhatu Investment Limited.

They are facing a 25-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, misappropriation of public fund to the tune N19.4 billion.

In the second case, Dasuki is facing trial alongside a former General Manager of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Baba-Kusa and two firms, Acacia Holdings Limited and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited.

They were first charged in November 2015 on a 19-count charge bordering on money laundering and breach of trust to the tune of N13.5 billion alongside a former Director of Finance and Administration, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Shuaibu Salisu, who was later removed from the charge.

Other defendants were on May 16, 2018, re-arraigned on an amended 32-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, dishonest release and receiving various sums of money to the tune of N33.2 billion misappropriation.

NAN reports that hearing of both cases was being stalled by the continued absence of Dasuki in court.

EFCC told the court on that Dasuki vowed that he would not appear in court for trial until such a time the government complies with the court order releasing him from the custody of the Department of State Service on bail.

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