Court adjourns hearing on Dasuki’s application for consolidation of charges
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has adjourned a hearing on a motion by former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki, asking the court to consolidate two criminal charges bordering on alleged corruption and breach of trust brought against him by the Federal Government in the course of his official duties.
Parties in the matter tendered letters before the court presided by Justice Baba Yusuf moving for adjournment to enable the appearance of the defendant (Dasuki) at the Court of Appeal, which had asked him to be present at its sitting.
Counsel to Dasuki, J.B. Daudu, had on June 6 urged the decision of the court on the motion before the trial commences because fundamental constitutional issues were raised in the motion that required the termination first before anything could be done.
He said the former NSA, who had been granted bail in three different high courts where criminal charges were slammed against him, had been re-arrested and had been in custody of security operatives since 2015.
Dasuki told the court on June 6 that he was not scared of trial on the alleged fund misappropriation but insisted that the right thing in law must be done.
The former NSA in the fresh motion on notice filed by his counsel claimed that the trial in two different courts on the same issues and facts is unconstitutional and prejudicial to his right to fair trial by the court.
Dasuki, who is standing trial on allegation of alleged misappropriation of $2.1 billion along with four others before Justice Yusuf, insisted that the charges against him by the complainant on the same issue constituted a gross abuse of court process.
In the motion brought pursuant to Section 6 and 36 of the 1999 Constitution and Section 1, 208, 396, 491 and 492 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, Dasuki claimed that the two charges revolved around the same set of transaction and facts on the alleged funds’ misappropriation and breach of trust.
He claimed that the two charges with No. FCT/ HC /CR/ 43/2015 and another one with FCT/ HC/ CR/ 42/2015 pending before Justice Yusuf of the High Court No. 4 and Justice Peter Affen of High Court No. 24 are identical charges emanating from the office of the National Security Adviser and as such must be consolidated in the interest of justice and fair trial to avoid double jeopardy.
The applicant further claimed that to stand trial before two different courts and two different judges on the same set of facts and purported transaction of the office of the NSA would be prejudicial and great hardship against him as he stands the risk of double jeopardy having been charged in two different courts on the issue.
In the alternative, Dasuki prayed that his name be struck out from one of the two charges in the interest of justice.
In a 30-paragraph affidavit in support of the motion deposed to by Dolapo Kehinde, the former NSA was said to be standing trial before Justice Baba Yusuf on a 19-count charge for criminal breach of trust pursuant to Section 97, 309, 315 and 317 of the Penal Code and also dishonestly misappropriated certain property in breach of Section 17 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act 2014.
The deponent also averred that Dasuki and four others were also standing trial before Justice Peter Affen for similar offences on 22-count charge of criminal breach of trust contrary to Section 97, 309, 315 and 317 of Penal Code and dishonest misappropriation of certain property contrary to Section 17 of EFCC Act 2014.
He further averred that the pivotal issue whereupon the two charges revolve is the purported $2.1 billion alleged to have been misappropriated by Dasuki.
The affidavit indicated that there was no distinction between the alleged transactions, which led to the filing of the two charges and therefore it is an abuse of the court for the two charges to have been filed separately.
However, counsel to Federal Government, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), objected to the motion on the ground that it was a ploy to frustrate and delay trial and urged Justice Yusuf to proceed with the trial.
Meanwhile, Justice Yusuf adjourned till July 4, 2016 for hearing on the motion.