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Alleged N19bn fraud: Ex-AGF faults Dasuki detention without trial

…As DSS again refused to produce him in court

Former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), said on Wednesday that it is irritating to keep former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd) in perpetual custody and at same time prevent him from attending to his trial in court.

Chief Olujinmi stated this in Abuja at the resumed trial of Dasuki, Salisu Shuaib, a former Director of Finance in Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and five others at the High Court of Federal Capital Territory.

The senior counsel, who is representing Shuaib in the N19 billion money-laundering charge, told the trial judge, Justice Baba Yusuf, that it is irritating for government to refuse to produce Dasuki who is in its custody in Court to face trial while the Department of State Service (DSS) flagrantly disobey the bails granted the defendant by several courts.

Dasuki, who was first arraigned before the Federal High Court Abuja in 2015, was admitted to bail by Justice Adeniyi Ademola and later by Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed, before the defendant’s arraignment at Justice Peter Affen and Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of the FCT High Courts. Although both judges granted him bail, he has remained in the custody of DSS.

The ECOWAS Court had also in a judgment last year ordered the Federal Government to release him immediately from the unlawful custody and imposed a fine of N15 million on the government but up till now, all the bail orders have not been obeyed.

Olujinmi said he found it “irritating for somebody to tell a prosecutor that the failure to produce a defendant in a criminal matter is an oversight. It is absurd and there is the need to keep record of day to day of the defendant in order to allow him to defend himself in the criminal charges brought against him.

No one should foist a state of hopelessness on the court but I urge the court to order that those keeping Dasuki should ensure that they are alive to their responsibility of producing him in the next adjourned day.”

It would be recalled that this is the fifth time that Dasuki would not be brought to court

Olujimi remarks followed the failure of DSS to produce Dasuki in court for fifth consecutive times despite prior notice to the agency.

The Federal Government Counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), told Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf, that Dasuki was not produced in Court probably due to an oversight.

Jacobs said he made several attempts to reach the authority of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to liase with the authority of the DSS to produce the ex-NSA in court.

The senior counsel said that the only response he received after the EFCC had linked up with DSS was that the defendant (Dasuki) would not be brought to court.

The prosecution counsel apologised to the court on the development and requested Justice Baba Yusuf to grant him an adjournment so as to get the defendant in court.

Counsel to Dasuki, Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN), who also expressed shock over the development, expressed sympathy with the prosecution, adding that the inter-agency issues would have been responsible for the refusal of the DSS to bring his client to court.

Daudu recalled that the court had earlier granted his client bail to enable him face the trial from his house but regretted that in spite of the fact that court orders are meant to be obeyed, the Federal Government had chosen to refuse to obey several bail orders.

In his short ruling, Justice Baba Yusuf admitted that the prosecution counsel had always been passionate to have the trial conducted but that his dilemma emanated from the fact that he is not in control of the defendant.

The Judge however directed Jacobs to pass the message to his client that there is the need for them to produce Dasuki in court as required by law on July 10, 11 and 12, 2017 for the trial.

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