By Wahab Akanji, Abuja
A former National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki, ex-governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa and four others were re-arraigned on Tuesday before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama over their alleged involvement in the diversion of N13billion meant to buy arms for the military.
Others are Sagir (Bafarawa’s son), a former Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu, an ex-Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda and a firm linked to Sagir – Dalhatu Investment.
They were earlier arraigned on the same charge before another judge of the court, Justice Peter Affen. Their re-arraignment before Justice Hussein Baba Yusuf yesterday was informed by the transfer of the case to Justice Yusuf’s court.
Another case on related issue, but involving Dasuki and some other set of people is also pending before Justice Yusuf. Both cases are now to be tried by the same judge.
Dasuki was brought to court from the custody of the Department of State Service (DSS), where he is being held since his arrest in 2015 on Tuesday.
Dasuki and others pleaded not guilty to the 22-count charge when it was read to them yesterday. The charge was filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
They are charged with criminal breach of trust, receiving stolen property and misappropriation about N13bn.
After the defendants pleaded to the charge, defence lawyers, including Ahmed Raji (SAN), urged the court to allow their clients to continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted them.
Raji, who represented Dasuki, urged the judge to re-affirm the bail with respect to his client for the purpose of restating it to the DSS that has refused to release his client despite meeting the bail conditions.
Lead prosecuting lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), opposed Raji’s application, arguing that it was unnecessary.
In a ruling, Justice Yusuf noted that he had earlier ruled that the EFCC was not in disobedience of the court orders granting bail to Dasuki, as the ex-NSA was being held by another agency which was not involved in the case.
He granted the defence lawyers’ request that the the defendants be allowed to continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted them.
The judge adjourned to February 24 for the commencement of trial.