By Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
For the second time in three weeks, an Abuja High Court sitting at Maitama, Abuja yesterday dismissed an application brought before it by the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki (rtd) for want of merit.
Also yesterday, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja refused the bail application brought before it by the embattled former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd).
In his application, Dasuki had asked the court for an order prohibiting the Federal Government and any of its agencies from further prosecuting him on the alleged diversion of public funds meant for the procurement of arms for the military or seeking any form of indulgence before any court in the country, until the order admitting him to bail was obeyed.
An order discharging him of all the offences contained in the charge on grounds that the charge could not lawfully be prosecuted by a government that was in brazen contempt of a lawful court order.
Alternatively, Dasuki urged the court for an order staying further proceedings in the charge until he has exhausted the remedies available to him in law for the enforcement of his right to liberty as preserved by the bail order granted him.
But the trial judge, Justice Peter Affen in his ruling cited Sections 221 and 396 (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) and held that it was common knowledge that Dasuki was re-arrested upon perfecting his bail condition.
Justice Affen opined that it was common knowledge that Dasuki was rearrested upon perfecting his bail conditions, adding that even if the respondent (EFCC) was in contempt of court, it did not give the court the power to discharge Dasuki of the criminal charges leveled against him.
He held that the court did not make any order barring any other agency of government from arresting Dasuki for further investigation as regards the matter or any other one that might come up.
The court held that for the issue of contempt of court to be raised, there must be substantial evidence of proof that an order of the court had been disobeyed.
The court further held that there was inconsistency in the counter-affidavits deposed to in the further affidavits filed by Dasuki, as it was stated in one that it was the EFCC that arrested him and handed him over to the DSS, while another said he was arrested by the DSS.
The court held that the two agencies were different agencies created by separate Acts of the National Assembly and that it found no correlation between the alleged disobedience of the court order and his re-arrest for which he was seeking for his discharge from the case.
He also held that no material was placed before the court to prove that Dasuki had made moves to enforce his fundamental rights.
As such, the court dismissed the application for want of merit and adjourned the suit till April 20 and 22, 2016 for trial.
Justice Yusuf Baba of another Abuja High Court had also dismissed a similar application filed by Dasuki in which the court held that the Department of State Service (DSS) never disobeyed any court order in re-arresting him.
Badeh’s Bail Quest Falters …
In another development yesterday, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja refused the bail application brought before it by the embattled former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd).
The ex-CDS has been in EFCC custody since February 8, 2016, when he was invited by the commission for interrogation.
Last week, he filed a motion on notice brought pursuant to Section 35(4) and Section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution and Sections 158, 162 and 165(1) (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, wherein he challenged his prolonged detention by the anti-graft commission.
His lawyer, Samuel Zibiri SAN had urged the court for an order admitting Badeh to bail on self-recognition or on such favourable and liberal terms as the court might deem fit to make in the circumstances of the case pending further investigation by the anti-graft body and/or arraignment before this court.
However, delivering his ruling yesterday on the request, the trial judge, Justice John Tsoho held that from depositions in the affidavit in support and against the application that “it is clear that the applicant was actually granted bail by the EFCC” just as the court observed that Badeh could not meet up with the bail conditions.
In addition, the court said from the counter-affidavit of the EFCC, Badeh could not perfect the bail conditions because they were stringent; pointing out that it was the failure of the applicant to have his bail conditions varied that was responsible for his detention.
Justice Tsoho equally noted that the real objective of Badeh’s application is for the court to vary his bail condition because it is obvious that the applicant could not meet the bail terms.
The court noted from the EFCC deposition in the affidavit in opposition to the bail application that a new development was responsible for the applicant’s detention as his involvement in the alleged N1.8bn Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Management Agency (NIMASA) fraud led to his transfer to Lagos.
“It will be absurd that the EFCC after granting administrative bail to the applicant will come and oppose his bail application,” the judge said.
He stated that it was pursuant to the alleged NIMASA fraud that the EFCC got a remand order from a Chief Magistrate Court Lagos State to keep Badeh pending investigations into the matter.
“The applicant did not deny the respondent’s (EFCC) disclosure on the applicant’s link to the alleged NIMASA fraud.
“By virtue of the remand order, the matter has assumed a different dimension beyond the issue of bail application.
“The issue now is on the legality of the remand order; whether in view of the remand order, this court can grant bail application.
“Granting bail violates a valid court order; in the circumstances, the applicant’s application for bail fails and it is struck out” Justice Tsoho ordered.
Meanwhile, Badeh’s counsel, Mr. Henry Michael Ihunde said he would consult with his client to see the possibility of filing an appeal against the judgement.
Ihunde stated this yesterday while reacting to the court’s decision on his client bail application.
He faulted the court’s ruling on the grounds that the anti-graft agency had detained Badeh beyond the constitutionally allowed period before it hurriedly obtained the remand warrant from the Lagos Magistrate Court.