Court dismisses Dasuki’s application for indefinite adjournment of trial

Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd)

The Federal High Court, Abuja, has dismissed an application brought by former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), seeking an indefinite adjournment of his trial pending determination of appeal at the Court of Appeal.

In his ruling yesterday, Justice Ahmed Mohammed held that Dasuki ‘s application was grossly misconstrued, stating that going by the provision of Section 306 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015), an application aimed to stay proceeding in a criminal trial under whatever guise cannot be granted.

He added that Section 305 (1a) of ACJA upon which Dasuki predicated his application did not provide any constitutional issue raised during proceedings at a trial court and which can be referred to the Court of Appeal.

He said it was the court’s opinion that on the issue of reference of question of law, “nothing in Section 295 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) gives parties the power to refer any constitutional question to the appellate court.”

Mohammed, thereafter, adjourned to January 17 and 18, 2018 for trial.

Besides, the court has upheld shielding of witnesses due to the nature of the case. The Federal Government had urged Justice Mohammed to allow the screening of witnesses to guarantee their safety after their evidence in court. The witnesses would however not be shielded from lawyers that would be in the court throughout the trial. Justice Mohammed said that the request for the witnesses to testify behind the screen was granted because part of the charges against Dasuki has to do with money laundering.

The judge noted that a similar request had been presented before the court in 2015, but was rejected by the court.

He, however, noted that the decision to allow the use of screen was granted because of the nature of the case.

According to the judge, the fresh motion argued by the prosecution did not constitute abuse of court process because the prayers in the old and the fresh one were distinct and different.

The judge said that Section 232 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 permitted the use of screen when charges have to do with economic crimes as in the instant case.



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