Absence of Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd) in court, on Tuesday, again stalled his trial before a Federal Capital Territory, High Court in Maitama District of Abuja for an alleged N6 billion corruption and fraud while in office. This is even as a Federal High Court in Abuja presidend over by Justice John Tsoho on Tuesday, struck out a suit seeking the prosecution of Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, over alleged unlawful disbursement of funds to the immediate past National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
Dasuki and two other accomplices, Salisu Shuaib, a former Director of Finance in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and Aminu Baba-Kusa, a former Executive Director at The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), were arraigned for the alleged offences last year to which they pleaded not guilty. But while Shuaibu and Baba-Kusa that were allowed to enjoy the bail granted by the court have always attend trial, Dasuki who was rearrested by the Department of State Security Services (DSS) has not been available for the trial.
The situation repeated itself on Tuesday at the resumed trial of the case. Although the prosecution counsel, Mr. Oluwaleke Atolagbe informed the trial Judge, Justice Baba Yusuf, that he had made serious efforts through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to contact the DSS to produce the first defendant (Dasuki) in court, the defendant was not in court.
The prosecutor also said that the prosecution witnesses who were to testify at the trial session have been assembled by the EFCC and were in court. He urged the court to stand down the matter to allow the lead counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), who was not in court opportunity to be present and to throw more light on the defendant’s absence. Atolagbe also told Justice Baba Yusuf that he had made serious efforts through the EFCC to contact the DSS to produce the first defendant (Dasuki) in court and regretted that as at the time the court was sitting his efforts did not yield fruitful result.
However, Counsel to Salisu Shuaib, a former Director of Finance in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), said that Jacobs’ presence would be inconsequential in the absence of the first defendant (Dasuki). Olujimi, a former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, told the court that the prosecution had failed to produce the defendant in court and ought to admit that and asked for adjournment.
Olujimi told Justice Baba Yusuf that it is settled in law that trial cannot go ahead in the absence of the defendant, and therefore prayed the Judge to grant adjournment to the prosecution to enable them take steps to produce Dasuki in court on the adjourned date. Olujimi also asked the court to issue a stern warning to the prosecution to be serious in the trial and to ensure that Dasuki is produced in court at all stages of the trial as demanded by law.