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Produce Dasuki in court Feb 16, judge orders FG

Former National Security Adviser, NSA, to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Col. Sambo Dasuki
Former National Security Adviser, NSA, to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Col. Sambo Dasuki

Justice Ademola Adeniyi of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, ordered the Federal Government to produce the erstwhile National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.), before him on February 16.

Justice Adeniyi made the order after he was notified that the ex-NSA, whose trial was originally scheduled to commence yesterday, was not brought to court by the prosecution.

Dasuki is facing a five-count criminal charge before the court.

The charge pending against him before the court borders on money laundering and his alleged illegal possession of firearms.

Specifically, government alleged that Dasuki was on July 17, 2015, at his house situated at 13, John Khadiya Street, Asokoro, Abuja, found to be in possession of various range of firearms without requisite license, an offence punishable under Section 27 (1)(a) of the Firearms Act Cap F28 LFN, 2004.

He was further accused of retaining $40,000, N5 million and another $20,000 in the same house and same date, contrary to Section 15 (2)(d) of Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011.

Besides, government alleged that the embattled former NSA had on July 16, 2015, at his residence at Sultan Abubakar Road and Sabon Birni Road, Sokoto State, retained another $150,000 and N37.6 million being part of proceedings of unlawful act, contrary to Section 15 (3) of the Money Laundering Act, 2011.

The former NSA had since pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, even as the court fixed yesterday to begin full-blown hearing on the matter.

He’s missing—COUNSEL
When the matter was called-up for trial, Dasuki’s lawyer, Mr. J. B. Daudu (SAN), told the court that his client was, about six weeks ago, abducted by security agents to an unknown destination.

Daudu alleged that his client had since then been kept incommunicado, adding that effort by his family members and lawyers to have access to him were scuttled by the Federal Government.

More so, Daudu, who stressed that his client was duly admitted to bail by three different courts where he was arraigned, wondered why the government was bent on retaining him in custody without preferring any charge against him.

Consequently, he prayed Justice Adeniyi to compel the Federal Government and its agents to respect all the subsisting court orders that sanctioned the release of his client on bail pending hearing and determination of all the charges against him.

Meantime, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Dikpo Okpeseyi (SAN), yesterday, failed to give any reason why the former NSA was not brought to court.

Rather, he applied and withdrew an earlier application government filed, wherein it asked Justice Adeniyi to revoke the bail he granted to Dasuki on November 3, 2015.

Dissatisfied that the absence of Dasuki in court yesterday was not anchored on any cogent reason, Justice Adeniyi ordered the he must be produced before any further step could be taken on the matter.

The judge maintained that it is mandatory for a defendant in a criminal matter to be physically present in court at every stage of the prosecution.

He said that only the court has the power to excuse an accused person from being physically present in the course of a trial.