$2bn arms deal: Dasuki refuses to face trial — Nigeria Today
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$2bn arms deal: Dasuki refuses to face trial

Embattled former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, has refused to appear for trial before Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf of a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama Abuja, in one of the several matters brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as regards alleged misappropriation of $2 billion arms deal.

While former director of finance and administration in the office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu, and a former director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aminu Baba-Kusa, who are standing trial alongside Dasuki were present in court, prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs had informed the court that Dasuki refused to come to court because his counsels, Joseph Daudu and Ahmed Raji were not going to come to court.

“We persuaded him to come to court but he refused and said he cannot be abducted and that nobody can abduct him. I also confirmed that Daudu had filed an application on the 24th of February at the court of appeal, when I say it I knew it will stall today’s proceedings but I did not know it will go farther than this.

“I submit with respect that it is not the law that once a defendant is in custody, his trial cannot go on, and that is the misconception he has been given. Of relevance is the provisions if Section 267(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), that when the defendant is in custody or in remand, he shall be allowed a legal practitioner at all times and so his trial can continue,” he told the court.

He further submitted that: “I asked the DSS if his counsel ever made any attempt to see him, they said he never made any attempt to see him in custody. It is a deliberate game plan by the defendant and his counsel that his trial do not go on.”

In response to submissions by the prosecution, Wale Balogun, who represented Dasuki however said he was not aware of the allegations of “conspiracy” being made by the prosecution, arguing that the lead counsel’s absence was simply due to some reasons far from his allegations.

“We are not in the position to dispute this, because we have not had access to him, he is in their custody. It is an elementary requirement of the law that he is suppose to be here all through trial. It is on record that the prosecution had not made any application to excuse the defendant.

“In view of the fact that he is not here, the trial cannot continue. The allegations made by the prosecution is a serious one, it is a statement an officer of the DSS should have deposed to an affidavit on. It should be brought before the court by way of an affidavit to form part of the court’s records,” he said.

Counsel to the second defendant said: “It is beyond me that your lordship will be incapacitated due to absence of the defendant in trial unless there is a voluntary excuse for his personal presence in trial, his presence is fertile for trial.”

Having heard the submissions by all the other counsels in the matter, Justice Baba adjourned the matter to April 6, for hearing.

Dasuki is standing trial in three different courts over allegations of misappropriating a total of $2 billion worth of funds meant for arms procurement, and has since remain in DSS custody upon his re-arrest.

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This post was syndicated from BusinessDay : News you can trust. Click here to read the full text on the original website.


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