The federal government has failed to produce the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), before an Abuja High Court for trial in the charges of money laundering and breach of trust brought against him and others since last year.
Dasuki who was charged along with five others before Justice Peter Affen, was granted bail when he was first arraigned but re-arrested and had been kept in custody of the Department of the State Service (DSS) since December 2015.
Others who are being prosecuted along with the former NSA with respect to charges of diversion of funds include a former Director of Finance in the Office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu, a former Finance Minister of State, Bashir Yuguda; a former Sokoto Governor, Attahiru Bafarawa, the ex-governor’s son, Sagir Attahiru, and a firm, Dalhatu Investment.
At the resumed trial, counsel to the federal government, Mr. Rotimi Jacob, informed the judge that he was surprised that Dasuki who was the second defendant in the charge was not brought to court by his client.
The counsel explained that on his part he notified the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on 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.
Jacob consequently applied to Justice Affen to stand down the case for him to enable his client to produce Dasuki in court but however he could not give a definite period within which the EFCC would bring the ex-NSA to court.
The action of the prosecution provoked reactions from Chief Olajide Ayodele (SAN), counsel to former Minister of State for Finance, Mallam Bashir Yuguda, who vehemently opposed the request of Rotimi Jacob for stand down on the grounds that the request if granted would not serve any useful purpose.
The senior counsel 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 transferring between the EFCC and DSS on the matter.
Olajide therefore pleaded with the judge to grant adjournment in the trial as better option so as not to keep the court and the lawyers waiting till eternity.
The position of the counsel was adopted by Mr. Jacob Daudu (SAN) who stood for Dasuki and regretted that the government which put the ex-NSA on trial was the one scuttling the trial.
Daudu said since June 2016 when the matter was adjourned for yesterday, the EFCC which initiated the trial on behalf of the federal government ought to have known that it is its responsibility to produce Dasuki in court as required by the law.
Former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), who stood for former Sokoto Governor, Attahiru Bafarawa, also opposed the request for stand down of the case without a definite time and pleaded for an adjournment as done by other lawyers Dr. Kayode Olatoke (SAN) and Akeem Afolabi (SAN) who stood for other defendants in the matter.
In his ruling on the stand down application, Justice Affen agreed that it would be unfair to stand down the case without being giving the definite time within which Dasuki could be produced in court.
The judge counselled the federal government to do the needful to help the prosecution counsel by ensuring regular attendance of the ex-NSA in court and adjourned the matter till October 21, 2016.
The federal government had in December 2015 had arraigned Dasuki and others on a 22- counts charge of diversion of funds for arms/military equipment before an FCT High Court in Abuja.