One of the ongoing trials of Former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd) before Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), was stalled due to his absence in court.
When the matter came up for hearing yesterday, the prosecution counsel Mr Oluwaleke Atolagbe told the court that the absence of the immediate past NSA in court to face trial was a ploy to delay the trial. Dasuki is being charged alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda; a former Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Shuaibu Salisu; a former Sokoto State governor, Attahiru Bafarawa; his son, Sagir Attahiru and the company belonging to the former governor, Dalhatu Investment Limited.
He is also being charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 22-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and fraudulent diversion of public fund amounting to N19.4 billion contrary to Section 215 of Penal Code and Section 17 (b) of the EFCC Act, 2004.
Atolagbe stated that though it was scheduled for commencement of trial, Dasuki was absent in court and informed that the prosecution as of close of work yesterday received a letter from the office of the counsel for the former NSA, Ahmed Raji (SAN), requesting for an adjournment on the ground that the second defendant also had a case at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Mr Atolagbe said:”The situation is most unfortunate. When I contacted the officials of this court, I was told the court is ready. We are ready and it is apparent other counsels are ready too”
“This attire of the second defendant counsel is deliberate. The same set of counsels representing Dasuki and they took this date with the rest of us together”
“This is unfair on both the prosecution and other counsels and even my Lord. This is a ploy to stall this trial. This should be strongly condemned by my Lord.”
He informed the court that some witnesses are in court but the case could not go on due to Dasuki’s absence.
Counsels for the other defendants in the case informed the court that they received the letter from the counsel for the second defendant’s counsel only when they got to court.
They all agreed that the matter could not process without the second defendant in court since it was a joint trial and, therefore, did not object to the application for adjournment.
Ruling on the application, the presiding judge, Justice Baba-Yusuf stated that he agreed with the submission of the prosecution that the application was a ploy to delay the trial.
“By this type conduct, the counsel to the second defendant is already tasking the patience of the court,” the judge declared, saying that he had no option than to agree to adjourn the matter due to Dasuki’s absence in court.
Justice Baba-Yusuf, however, adjourned the case till June 29th for hearing.