By Amos Dunia, Persecond News
Abuja – A Federal Capital Territory High Court on Thursday adjourned the trial of former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), to May 2 and 3, 2018 for definite trial in an alleged money-laundering charges brought against him by the Federal Government.
The trial judge, Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf announced the new date after he was presented with a Supreme Court judgment of March 2, 2018 which ordered accelerated hearing of the case.
As a means of ensuring effective management of the two separate charges against Dasuki and other defendants, the court fixed April 13 for a pre-trial conference to be attended by seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) involved in the case so as to enable them take common position on documents from the prosecution and defendants.
During the Conference which will be presided over by Justice Baba Yusuf, all documents that are not contentious will be admitted from the bar while the contentious ones are to be tendered during trial to ensure speedy hearing of the cases which was filed in September 2015.
Senior counsels involved in the matter, especially Mr. Rotimi Jacobs for the prosecution, Ahmed Raji, Akin Olujimi, Olajide Ayodele, Kayode Olatoke, Hakeem Afolabi and Solomon Umoh, who are standing for different defendants in the trial, all agreed with the Supreme Court decision for accelerated hearing and the pre-trial conference to sort out all the contentious issues.
Ahmed Raji, who led the legal team of Dasuki told the court that the decision of the Supreme Court indicated that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is different from the Department of State Services (DSS), and that both are not serving the same government.
The Federal Government had slammed charges against Dasuk, the Director of Finance in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Salisu Shuaib Aminu and Baba-Kusa of Acacia Holding Limited and Reliance Referral Hospital on alleged money-laundering and criminal breach of trust.
Although the charges was filed in 2015, proper trial could not commenced due to the failure of the Federal Government to allow the principal defendant in the matter, Sambo Dasuki to enjoy the bail and other bails granted him by different courts since 2015.
In a bid to enforce the bail order, Dasuki had approached the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court to compel the Federal Government to allow him go on bail as ordered by the trial court just like other defendants, to enable him access his lawyers and prepare for his defence.
However, both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court had in their separate judgments disagreed with Dasuki that the Federal Government did not obey the bail order. The two courts held that since his bail at the Kuje Prison was endorsed by the Controller of Prison and was released before he was re-arrested by another agent of the federal government, the bail had been obeyed at that level.
Justice Baba-Yusuf in his brief comment, appealed to the senior lawyers involved in the matter to cooperate with one another, especially with the prosecution to allow the trial to flow so that justice of the case can be met within a reasonable time.
The judge said that as minister in the temple of justice, the senior lawyers should do away with sentiments and do their jobs as legal practitioners of reputable standing in the interest of justice for both parties.
At the proceeding, apart from Sambo Dasuki, former Governor of Sokoto, Attahiru Bafarawa and former minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda among others were all present in court to answer the charges against them.