By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja.
AGAIN, COURT ORDERS DSS TO PRODUCE DASUKI IN COURT TODAY…To
The Federal High Court, Abuja has again ordered the Director General of the Department of State Security (DSS) to produce a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col Mohammed Sambo Dasuki before it today to testify in the N400m corruption charges brought against former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Olisa Metuh.
The court however stepped down on the subpoena issued against formerly President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan on the ground that he (Jonathan) had not been served with the subpoena personally as required by the law.
Justice Okon Abang who ordered the production of Dasuki in court yesterday however said that the ex-NSA may not be compelled to testify in the trial until his motion, praying for adjournment is fully determined by the court.
Dasuki had filed a motion challenging the decision of the court which last week turned down his request to set aside the subpoena issued against him by the court.
In the fresh appeal, Dasuki is praying the court to adjourn the execution of the subpoena until further notice, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal he filed at the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division.
In the fresh motion brought pursuant to order 5 Rule 10 and 11, Dasuki, through his counsel, Mr. Ahmed Raji ( SAN) told Justice Abang that, having lodged an appeal at the appellate court, it is incumbent on the lower court to allow the appellate court to determine the matter before executing the subpoena against him.
He claimed that he had already compiled the record of proceedings and transmitted same to the Appeal Court and that his appeal had been entered and issued with a number as required by law.
Beside, the ex-NSA claimed that a letter had been written to the presiding justice of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal for an earlier date and for an accelerated hearing of te appeal, adding that it is in the best interests of justice for the high court to adjourn the execution of the subpoena against him.
On the allegation raised by the prosecution counsel, Sylvanus Tahir that Dasuki had vowed not appear in court, Raji told the court to expunge the remarks of the prosecution from the court record on the ground that, t was a hearsay evidence.
Raji told Justice Abang that apart from the fact that the prosecution was quoting another source on the evidence, “the evidence itself is incriminating, damaging and not admissible under the Evidence Act”.
The counsel pleaded with the Judge to hesitate in issuing bench warrant against the DG of DSS on subpoena to Dasuki on the ground that Dasuki had placed necessary document before the judge to ascertain that he (Dasuki) is already before the court of appeal to challenge the competence of the subpoena.
Dasuki’s motion seeking the adjournment is expected to be heard today.
Although, former President Jonathan was not present in court, his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) urged the court to wholly set aside the issuance or service of subpoena against the former President.
The court had, on October 23, at the instance of Metuh issued a subpoena to compel Jonathan to appear in court for the purpose of giving evidence in his trial on an alleged corruption.
But, Ozekhome, apart from praying for the setting aside of the subpoena, also asked the court to order Metuh to deposit in the court custody a sum of N1 billion in line with the provision of Section 241 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act ( ACJA), 2015 for him to appear in court.
Jonathan, in a motion filed on his behalf by Ozekhome explained that the N1 billion is for his travelling expenses and those of his security personnel from Utuoke in Bayelsa to Abuja and also for logistics and tight provision of security throughout the period of his stay in Abuja
He urged the court to void the subpoena issued against him.
However, the subpoena against the former President was stepped down by the court following evidence from the court registrar that Jonathan had not been served with the document personally as required by the law.
The court registrar who read out in the open court an affidavit of non service explained that the house of the former President in Abuja was contacted by the bailiff of the court and that the bailiff was told that Jonathan had travelled out of the country and is being expected back in the country anytime in November.
In his bench ruling, Justice Abang asked the DSS boss to produce Dasuki in court today, while the subpoena on the former President was stepped down due to non service.
The Judge said that Metuh, who sought to invite the former President to testify for him knows what to do in the area of substituted service as allowed by law.
It will be recalled that the former NSA asked the court to discharge him as a defence witness in Metuh’s trial.
The matter continues today for hearing the motion of both Dasuki and Jonathan.