The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Maitama, Abuja, on Tuesday, issued a production warrant and ordered that it be served on the Department of State Services to compel the Federal Government’s agency to produce the detained ex-National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), in court.
The judge, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf, made the order following Dasuki’s absence from the Tuesday’s proceedings in one of the ex-NSA’s two separate trials relating to corruption charges involving arms funds scandal.
The Tuesday’s hearing was about the 32 counts in which Dasuki, and Aminu Baba-Kusa and Baba-Kusa’s two firms – Acacia Holdings Ltd and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited – were accused of diverting N32bn meant for purchase of arms.
By virtue of the production warrant issued by the judge on Tuesday, Dasuki is expected to be brought to court on May 24.
The second set of charges involving alleged diversion of about N13bn meant for arms purchase was filed before the same judge.
Dasuki; a former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, the ex-governor’s son, Sagir Bafarawa; and a former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda, are the defendants in the case.
Dasuki has been in the custody of the DSS since December 2015 for undisclosed reasons, in violation of various court orders.
His absence has stalled proceedings in the two pending trials for umpteen times so much that only one prosecution witness, who has yet to complete his evidence, has been called in one of the cases, and none has been called in the other since 2015 when the two matters were filed before the court.
Defence lawyers – Victor Okwudiri (for Dasuki), Solomon Umoh (SAN), R.A Rilwan and A.O Ayodele, blamed the prosecution, for the ex-NSA’s absence from court on Tuesday.
They expressed surprise that the counsel prosecuting on behalf of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, another agency of the Federal Government, was unable to explain the absence of the detainee, who “is in the custody of the state”.
Responding, Mr. Leke Atolagbe, a private lawyer prosecuting on behalf of EFCC, said the anti-corruption agency was blameless as far as Dasuki’s absence from the court was concerned.
He said, “All the defendants are saying that the 1st defendant (Dasuki) is in the custody of the state but this honourable court has held that he is in the custody of the DSS and not the EFCC that is prosecuting this case, a position both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court have upheld.
“The EFCC cannot produce the 1st defendant because he is not in their custody.”
By The PUNCH