By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
A Federal Capital Territory High Court, Maitama, has fixed ruling on a motion seeking to stop the ongoing trial of the detained former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, for February 27.
The embattled Former NSA Boss is facing a 22-count charge of alleged illegal diversion of N19.4billion.
Also in the charge sheet, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) preferred a 32-count charge of alleged diversion of N32billion from an account the Office of the NSA.
According to the prosecution, the alleged stolen funds were part of about $2.1billion that was meant for the purchase of arms to combat terrorism in the North-East.
Dasuki, had on January 9, filed a motion asking the court to adjourn his trial indefinitely, pending when the Federal Government, complied with various court orders to release him on bail.
The defendant, who has been in detention since 2015, urged the court to halt further proceeding in the case to compel Federal Government to obey a judgment the Federal High Court in Abuja, delivered on July 2, 2018, which ordered his unconditional release.
In a motion filed before the Abuja court through his counsel, Mr. Ahmed Raji, SAN, Dasuki noted that trial Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, had in
the said judgement, directed the immediate enforcement of his fundamental rights to freedom and liberty, as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
He further prayed the court to order EFCC’s lead counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, to produce an advisory the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, issued with respect to the high court’s verdict.
Besides, he applied for leave of the court to invite six Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs, to appear and give legal opinion on whether or not his trial could proceed when the government had yet to comply with subsisting orders contained in Justice Ojukwu’s judgment.
The six senior lawyers he prayed the court to invite to the proceeding as Amicus Curiae (friends of the court), included two past Presidents of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Chief Wole Olanipekun and Chief Olisa Agbakoba.
Others are Chief Konyinsola Ajayi, Chief Onyechi Ikpeazu, Mr. Femi Falana, and the incumbent President of the NBA, Mr. Paul Usoro.
Reacting, the prosecution counsel, Mr. Jacobs, SAN, opposed the application. He queried the rationale behind Dasuki’s selection of lawyers he said were not favourably disposed to the government in power.
Jacobs told the court that all the lawyers Dasuki selected would not be dispassionate and detached in whatever submission that would make with respect to the trial.
Delivering his ruling, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf, refused Dasuki’s application.
He held that the ex-NSA failed to meet conditions that would have necessitated the initiation of amicus curiae into the matter.
The trial judge held that Dasuki was unable to prove that his application for the trial to be suspended, could not be effectively determined without the input of the six senior lawyers.
Justice Baba-Yusuf further held that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015, made adequate provisions on how the court would deal with application for stay of proceeding.
“The Amicus Curiae, if invited, will not come to drive any fresh point of law. The leave sought by the 2nd defendant is hereby refused”, the court held.
He therefore, adjourned to February 27, to rule of the motion for suspension of the trial.