Thursday 21 January 2016

Arms scam: Absence of #Dasuki’s lawyer stalls proceedings } TheNation

Proceedings were stalled Thursday in the N13.5billion arms scam involving a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Mohammed Sambo Dasuki and five others before a High court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Maitama, Abuja.

Dasuki is being tried with a former Director of Finance and Administration, Office of the National Security Adviser, Shuaibu Salisu, a former General Manager, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aminu Babakusa and two  companies – Acacia Holdings Limited and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited  – on a 19-count charge  bordering on money laundering and criminal breach of trust.

At the mention of the case Thursday, prosecution lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), told the court that lawyer to Dasuki, Ahmed Raji (SAN) was absent and had written him, seeking the adjournment of proceedings to Friday.

Jacobs said: ‘‘Counsel to the first defendant wrote a letter to me, saying that he won’t attend today’s proceedings on the grounds that he will be appearing before an election petition tribunal in Lokoja, Kogi State.”

Jacobs told the court why Dasuki was equally absent in court.

He said ‘‘when I inquired about the first defendant, I was told he is not in the custody of the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission). On further enquiry, I was told that he is with the Department of State Services (DSS). We have, however, made moves to ensure that he is produced in court this morning. My Lord, they are bringing him to court this morning.’’

Responding, lawyers to the other defendants in the case insisted that Dasuki must be produced before further proceedings could be conducted in the case. The lawyers, including Solomon Umoh (SAN) were of the view that since it was a criminal trial, the presence of all the defendants was necessary.

Trial judge, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf later suspended proceedings for about an hour to enable the prosecution fetch Dasuki.

When Dasuki was later brought in around 11.00am by DSS operatives, Jacobs urged the court to adjourn to the next day in view of the request of the ex-NSA.

Justice Baba-Yusuf later adjourned to today when the other defence lawyers did not object to Jacobs’ request.

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