By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
Justice A. R. Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday ordered the Department of State Security (DSS) to display before the court the weapons allegedly found in the house of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki.
The prosecution agency brought the former NSA boss before the court on the allegation of unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering.
The judge held that it is in the interest of justice and fair play to both the prosecution and the defense that the alleged weapons be brought in the court and tendered as an exhibit.
According to the trial judge, the said weapons were listed in the proof of evidence already made available to the ex-NSA by government which put him on trial.
Delivering a ruling in an objection against the public display of the weapons in the open court by Dasuki, Justice Mohammed said that Dasuki as a defendant in the trail will not be prejudiced if the alleged weapons were displayed and tendered as exhibit by those who investigated the allegations against him.
Earlier in his evidence in chief, the prosecution witness, an operative of the DSS, Mr. Williams Obiora, while testifying behind a vail, told the judge that he was part of the team ordered by the Director General of DSS in 2015, to carry out search on Dasuki’s house based on intelligence report that weapons injurious to national security were in his house.
He told the court that the team led by one Ali Burara, armed with a search warrant arrived at Dasuki’s house in Asokoro and met a retinue of armed soldiers, who prevented then from conducting the search.
Further in his testimonial, the witness told the court that after about 3hrs, a military truck arrived the house and moved the soldiers out of the house to pave way for the search during which weapons were found and recorded on the search warrant.
The prosecution counsel, Oladipupo Okpeseyi SAN, requested the witness to identify and display in the open court the weapons allegedly found in Dasuki’s house in 2015, four days after the change of government.
Objecting the move, counsel to Dasuki, Adeola Adedipe, submitted that the trial is been conducted in semi- secrecy in compliance with the decision of the court made on June 2015.
Adedipe premised his objection on section 190 of the Evidence Act, section 232 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, (ACJA), 2015 as well as section 36 of the 1999 constitution.
He maintained that, since the witness was testifying behind a veil, it is normal and appropriate that the weapons be displayed in the chamber of the judge.
Reacting to the objection, Okpeseyi SAN, prayed the court to dismiss the objection on the grounds that it was only official record of the state that cannot be displayed in the open court and not items recovered in the house of a suspect during investigation.
In his ruling, Justice Mohammed aligned with the prosecution and ordered that the weapons be brought to court for display.
He, therefore adjourned till May 22 and 24, 2018, for commencement of trial.