Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, high court has adjourned the corruption trial of former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki, to March 16 and 17 for further hearing.
This is following the testimony of the first prosecution witness, Michael Adariku, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Adariku, who was led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, told the court that his office had received documents which indicated that money was wired from the office of the Department of State Services, DSS, to the account of one Acacia holdings.
He added that investigation by the anti-graft agency showed that Aminu Babakusa, who also is the third accused person in the case, has the majority shares in the said Acacia holdings.
“When we received information, we moved swiftly into action and wrote the Central Bank of Nigeria to confirm the alleged movement of funds on September 21, 2015.
“On September 22, we received the response from the Central Bank. Analysis of the documents revealed the transfer of funds to various companies, including Acacia holdings; N600,000 was transferred to Acacia’s bank account maintained with the United Bank for Africa, UBA; while N650,000 was transferred to Ecobank account and N750,000 was transferred from the ONSA to a hospital, Referral alliance”.
The documents were brought out and the witness positively identified them, but the defence counsels unanimously rejected that the documents be admitted as exhibit because they had not been certified.
The defence lawyers argued that the documents from the various banks, as well as those from the Central Bank and the Corporate Affairs Commission all came in computerised forms without proper certifications.
But Jacobs urged the trial judge to go ahead and admit the documents as exhibit as they had been certified by the Registrar General of the Federation.
Subsequently, the trial judge, Hussein Baba-Yusuf, admitted the documents in evidence.
Justice Baba-Yusuf then adjourned the case till March 16 and 17 for continuation of hearing.
Earlier in the day, Dasuki’s lawyers had appealed to the court for a consolidation of the two charges against his client.
Recall that the EFCC had file two similar charges against the former NSA, and the two cases were assigned to two different justices. But following an application by the defence counsel, both charges were brought under one judge.
In the first case, Dasuki was charged alongside Shuaibu Salisu and Aminu Babakusa, a former General Manager, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, on a 19-count charge of money laundering and criminal breach of trust to the tune of N13.57 billion. Also joined in the suit were Acacia Holdings Limited; and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited.
The second case, on the other hand, saw the same accused persons facing a 22-count charge for alleged diversion of N32 billion.
Although both charges were eventually brought under the same judge, at the request of the defence, they are still being treated separately.
The defendants were re-arraigned on Tuesday after which the trial judge adjourned for a continuation of the case on Wednesday.
But when the defence counsel brought up the issue of consolidation of the charges against the accused persons, he was greeted by a stern warning from the judge who warned him against attempting to unnecessarily delay the proceedings.
“Since the witness is in court, I think it is better to allow this case to begin,” Justice Baba-Yusuf said, adding that “The essence of coming here is to allow the business of the day to be executed.”