The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has re-arraigned, former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki, and five others, on a 22-count charge of alleged diversion, and criminal breach of trust.
Dasuki was arraigned before Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of the FCT high court alongside former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa; former Director of Finance in the office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu; Sagir Attahiru; Bashir Yuguda, and a company, Dalhatu Investment Limited.
All the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Trial Judge, Baba-Yusuf, after listening to submissions of all the defence and prosecuting counsels, ordered that the existing bail condition be maintained.
However, prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, opposed the upholding of Dasuki’s bail, on the argument that he was still being held by the Department of State Services, DSS, after he was granted bail earlier.
Jacobs also asked the court to fix a date for the prosecution to open its case since the defendants all pleaded not guilty.
He cited Section 396 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, which provides for day-to-day trial.
But Dasuki’s counsel, Ahmed Raji, SAN, objected to Jacobs’ argument; insisting that his client was brought to court by the EFCC and not the DSS.
Raji also told Justice Baba-Yusuf that the ECOWAS court had earlier delivered a valid judgment on the issue, granting his client bail and awarding damages against the federal government.
He also said that the issue of day-to-day trial will only arise when the case fully commences.
Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, counsel to Bafaarawa, corroborated Raji’s argument, pointing out that Section 396 of ACJA should not be put above the provisions of Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
Fagbemi noted that the constituion provides for fair hearing and so it would not be fair for the defendants to be arraigned today and trial commences tomorrow.
Consequently, Justice Baba-Yusuf adjourned the case to February 24 for commencement of trial.
Dasuki and others were first arraigned in 2015 and were granted bail to the tune of N250 million each with two sureties in like sum.
But for undisclosed reasons the federal government refused to release the former NSA on bail, even after an ECOWAS court ruled that Dasuki’s continued detention was unlawful.
The West African sub-regional court ordered the Nigerian government to release Dasuki on bail as ordered by the courts and to pay him the sum of N5 million in damages for violating his fundamental human rights.