- He can be tried in absentia – Prosecution
Former National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, has written to the Federal High Court in Abuja demanding to be excused from further appearance for his trial.
Dasuki is facing trial over illegal possession of arms and money laundering, alleged diversion of $2.1bn arms fund, among others.
But in the letter dated November 12, 2018 and addressed to the Registrar of the Federal High Court Abuja, the former NSA accused the President Muhammadu Buhari administration of high-handedness, “hypocrisy,
lopsided/partisan rule of law” in the conduct of his trial.
He listed the various orders for his bail including by domestic and the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, which he said the Federal Government failed to obey, adding that it is ironical that it still wants the indulgence of the judiciary for his prosecution.
In the letter, Dasuki said he became worried after the president in his maiden media chat on December 30, 2015 said the weight of crimes he [the former NSA] committed against the Nigerian state were such that he would jump bail if allowed any form of freedom.
He added that the statement was reiterated by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) on July 13 when he was quoted to have said that irrespective of any court order for his (Dasuki) release, the Federal Government would not comply.
“The resolve to continue to detain me against the several orders of court and in brazen violation of the constitution is wrongful and arbitrary. It has inflicted physical, emotional and psychological torture on my family and me. The decision of the Federal Government is not only high-handed, it is also arbitrary and in violation of both domestic and international laws on human rights.
“At this juncture, it will seem that the Nigerian Government is not inclined to yield or obey the orders of any court of law; whether domestic or international. Ironically, the Federal Government still wants to ride on judicial wings to prosecute me when it does not comply with the orders that proceed from the court especially in relation to me.
“Since the Federal Government has resolved not to comply with judicial orders directing my release, it is better for the court to also absolve me of the need to submit myself for further prosecution. Justice should be evenly dispensed, as opposed to same, being in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria,” Dasuki wrote.
He can be tried in absentia – Prosecution
However, following Dasuki’s absence in court yesterday, Prosecution counsel Dipo Okpeseyi (SAN) asked the court to proceed without Dasuki in line with Section 352(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015. He argued that he was not given notice of the letter.
Speaking after the case, Okpeseyi maintained that Dasuki was in 2015 released on bail, adding that if he was later rearrested and detained it is not before the court.
“I believe he will have a rethink because it is not in his character. It is totally against his calling as senior military officer, a crown prince and someone that has held one of the highest offices in the land. That would not be his natural instinct because I know he is a gentleman. But whatever it is the court would have a final say,” he said.
An official of the Ministry of Justice, who pleaded anonymity, said Dasuki’s decision is not the right approach to enforce the bail orders of the courts. He added that the former NSA ought to continue using the instrumentality of the law to pursue whatever grievances he has.
Dasuki was in December, 2015 arraigned on a five-count charge of unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering to the tune of $2bn.
Meanwhile, Justice Ahmed Mohammed had said the defendant ought not to write the court directly except through his counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN).
The case has been adjourned to November 19 for hearing.
Trial may become a nullity – Awomolo
A senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, has urged the federal government to release the former NSA to ensure his trial doesn’t become a nullity in the face of the law.
Awomolo, a life bencher, told our reporter yesterday that Dasuki being a Nigerian, is a citizen entitled to all the rights and privileges the Constitution guaranteed to every Nigerian.
“Yes, we know he is undergoing trial for ordinarily bailable offences and judges in exercise of their powers under the constitution have granted him bails and he had met all the conditions. He is entitled to defend himself with a free mind and not under detention.
“Let all Nigerians plead with the Federal Government to, on compassionate ground, reconsider his case and in the interest of our hard earned but fledgling democracy release Dasuki.
“The right to defend himself freely is a constitutional right which cannot be lightly taken away otherwise the whole proceeding will be a nullity and void but the court may order him to be brought and such order must be obeyed,” Awomolo said.
Cases involving FG and Dasuki
1. The former NSA was on Sept 1, 2015 arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on charges of illegal possession of arms and money laundering. He was granted bail.
2. On Dec. 13, 2015, he was re-arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja alongside Shuaibu Salisu and others on 19-count charges over alleged diversion of $2.1bn.
3. Two days later, on Dec 15, 2015, he was charged before an FCT High Court alongside Bashir Yuguda, Attahiru Bafarawa and four others over alleged diversion of $2.1bn arms funds
4. On October 4, 2016 the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice ordered the release of the former NSA and awarded the sum of N15m compensation against the FG
5. On July 2 a Federal High Court in Abuja granted him bail on the N100m bail bond.