By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
The Federal Government has filed a 32 amended counts charge against the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki and three others, in the alleged diversion of $2.1billion arms funds.
Dasuki, Salisu Shuaibu, and three others, were arraigned in 2015. They pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them before Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Maitama. The prosecution’s inability to produce the former NSA boss in court for trial, had consistently stalled the proceedings.
The amended charges dated April 30, 2018, and signed by Mr. Chile Okoroma, Director of Legal Services with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), named some politicians from opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as beneficiaries of the alleged diverted funds.
However, in the amended charge sheet, a defendant, and a former Director of Finance and Supply in the ONSA who worked under Dasuki, Salisu Shuaib,was not mentioned.
Reacting to the development, the lead counsel to Dasuki, Mr. Ahmed Raji, (SAN) said he did not know the deal between Salisu Shuaib, the Federal Government and EFCC on the new twist.
He, however, said that subsequent events in the trial will reveal to the defendants and their counsel all the circumstances leading to the dropping of the core accused, adding that “till then, we will keep our fingers crossed.”
Apart from Dasuki, other defendants in the amended charge are Aminu Baba Kusa, Acacia Holding Limited and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited.
Among top Nigerians alleged by the Federal Government to have collected money from the former NSA are the current National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, former Chairman Board of Trustee PDP, Chief Tony Anenih; former PDP Spokesperson, Chief Olisa Metuh; Publisher of Thisday, Nduka Obaigbena; Senator Iyorchia Ayu; Chairman, AIT, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi; Mouftah Baba Ahmed; Bello Abba Mohammed; Dr. Bello Mohammed; AVM M. N Umar and Otunba Jonah Ogunniyi, among others.
Apart from individuals, corporate organizations were also named as beneficiaries in the new charges; and they include AMP Solar Service, Afro-Arab Investment, Bam Project and Projecties Limited, Bob Oshodin Organization Limited, WEHSAC Farms Limited, Wehsac Limited, Dimaris Mode Coolture Limited, First ARALAC Global Limited, Stellavera Development Limited, Jawaz Multi-purpose Venture Limited, Little Italy Global Services Limited, Belsha Nigeria Ltd and Syvan McNamara Limited among others.
They were subsequently admitted to bail. However, Colonel Dasuki was re-arrested after perfecting the bail conditions on December 29, 2015, and had been in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) without filing any other charge against him.
The defendants are expected to take a fresh plea on the amended charges May 17.