Sunday, June 13, 2021

Trial stalled as Nigerian gov’t fails to produce ex-NSA Dasuki in court


tiamin rice

The trial of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) was stalled today as the federal government failed to produce him in court.

The ex-NSA, who is standing trial instituted by the federal government, was not in the courtroom when his case came up for hearing before Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Retired Colonel Dasuki is facing legal actions over his conduct as the National Security Adviser (NSA), including on the alleged diversion of $2.1 billion meant for arms procurement.

The judge, who expressed disappointment over failure of the prosecution to produce the accused person, ordered the federal government to produce the former NSA in court on February 16, to answer the criminal charges it filed against him.

Justice Ademola stated that it is mandatory for a defendant in a criminal matter to be physically present in court at every stage of the prosecution, except where the presence of an accused is excused by the court.

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The decision of Justice Ademola was a reaction to the failure of the federal government to bring Dasuki to court today for continuation of his trial, without stated reason.

Dasuki’s counsel Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN), had also complained bitterly that his client was abducted by security agents of the federal government six weeks ago to an unknown destination.

Daudu informed Justice Ademola that since Dasuki was whisked away all efforts by Dasuki’s family members and his lawyers to have access to him had been scuttled.

The SAN also recalled that in three different High Courts where Dasuki was arraigned by the Federal Government, he (Dasuki) was admitted to bail by the three courts and the counsel regretted that up till date, the government and its agents have refused to allow Dasuki go on bail.

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He then urged the judge to compel the Federal Government and its agents to respect the court’s decision, having joined issues with the defendant in court.

The trial judge said: “I am worried that the accused is not here. I do not want to set a bad precedent.

“Except the court gives express order for the defendant not to be in court, the accused must be brought to court from wherever he is.

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“The accused must be here because I am not sure if what I am doing right now in the absence of the accused is not an illegality.

“Government and whoever is concerned must endeavour to do the necessary thing. The accused having been formally charged in court, must be produced in court for trial on the appointed days in compliance with provisions of the law.”

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Earlier, counsel to federal government, Mr. Dikpo Okpeseyi (SAN) had applied for withdrawal of an application earlier filed by government, seeking revocation of bail granted Dasuki on November 3, last year.

The judge consequently struck out the application and announced that ruling would be delivered on February 16 in a pending government application, seeking secret trial of the former NSA.

It would be recalled that the federal government had arraigned Dasuki in court on charges of unlawful possession of fire arms, breach of trust and money laundering.

Meanwhile, the trial of Dasuki has been fixed for February 16 and 17 before Justice Ademola.

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