By Toyin Akinfolajimi
Former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), has accused the federal government of frustrating the trial of former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
Dasuki is on trial at different high courts in Abuja over multiple count of of money-laundering charge.
Olujimi told an FCT High Court that it was irritating for government to have persistently and consistently refused to produce Dasuki in court to face in the criminal charges against him even when the ex-NSA is in the custody of the Department of the State Services (DSS) in flagrant disobedience to the bails granted him by several courts.
Since 2015, when Dasuki was arraigned before different high courts, he has been granted bail by Justice Adeniyi Ademola and Justice Ahmed Rahmat Mohammed of the Federal High Court as well as Justice Peter Affen and Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of the FCT High Courts.
The ECOWAS Court had also in a judgment ordered the federal government to release him immediately from the unlawful custody and imposed a fine of N15,000,000 on the government but up till now, all the judgments have not been obeyed.
The outburst of the former AGF yesterday at resumed hearing was provoked by the failure of the government for the second time in one week to produce Dasuki in court to enable him to defend himself.
The senior counsel said the defence of government that their inability to produce Dasuki in court for trial was an oversight is not acceptable and not tenable because the government having taking custody of Dasuki in spite of the bail granted him by four judges, ought to have created records on the date the defendant are to be brought to court to defend himself in the charges against him and in the interest of justice.
At the resumed hearing, counsel to the federal government, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), had recalled before Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf that Dasuki was not produced in court on Tuesday and that yesterday, he was not brought to court by those taking his custody.
Jacobs told the judge that he has made several attempts to reach the authority of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to liaise with the authority of the DSS to produce the ex-NSA in court.
The senior counsel said the only response he received after the EFCC had linked up with DSS was that the defendant (Dasuki) would not be brought to court.
The prosecution counsel apologised to the court on the development and requested Justice Baba Yusuf to grant him an adjournment so as to get his defendant in court.
Counsel to Dasuki, Mr. Joseph Daudu, who expressed shock over the development, expressed sympathy with the prosecution, adding that the inter-agency issues would have being responsible for the refusal of the DSS to bring his client to court.
Daudu recalled that the court had earlier granted his client bail to enable him come for the defence from his house but regretted that in spite of the fact that court orders are meant to be obeyed, the federal government had chosen to refuse to obey several bail orders.
Olujimi who stood for Salisu Shuaib, a former Director of Finance in Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), in his own comment, noted that the other defendants in the criminal charges have been coming regularly for the trial but lamented that the prosecution has not been ready to allow the trial to flow: “I find it irritating for somebody to tell a prosecutor that the failure to produce a defendant in a criminal matter is an oversight. It is absurd and the need to keep record of day to day of the defendant in order to allow him to defend himself in the criminal charges brought against him.
“No one should foist a state of hopelessness on the court but I urged the court to order that those keeping Dasuki should ensure that they are alive to their responsibility of producing him in the next adjourned day.”
In his short ruling, Justice Baba Yusuf admitted that the prosecution counsel had always been passionate to have the trial conducted but that his dilemma emanated from the fact that he is not in control of the defendant.
The judge however, directed Jacob to pass the message to his clients that there is the need for them to produce Dasuki in court as required by law.
This is the fifth time that Dasuki would not be brought to court. Although Jacob had promised that Dasuki would be produced in court yesterday, he however failed as DSS did not bring him to court.
Meanwhile, Justice Baba Yusuf has fixed July 11 and 12, 2017 for the commencement of the trial.