AGF absent in court, seeks revocation of bail granted Dasuki
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), was absent at yesterday’s sitting of the Federal High Court in Abuja that summoned him to explain the house arrest of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) in spite of the bail earlier granted him by the court.
Rather, the AGF filed an application dated November 20, 2015, praying the court for an order to commit the former NSA to prison pending his trial.
Dasuki was arraigned over alleged criminal offences bordering on unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering, to which he pleaded not guilty.
The trial Judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, on September 1, 2015 ordered release of Dasuki’s international passport to enable him travel abroad for medical attention.
While ruling on Dasuki’s application for the release of his travel documents, the judge held that in criminal trial, every suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty. He reasoned that to deny Dasuki access to medication anywhere of his choice would amount to a breach of that right. He ordered Dasuki to return his international passport to the Deputy Chief Registrar, Litigation of the Court within 72 hours after his return from the three-week medical trip.
But, at the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation (DPPF) and the prosecution counsel, Mohammed Diri, applied for an order of the court revoking Dasuki’s bail and to commit him in prison pending his trial.
Diri hinged his application on seven grounds, one of which is that Dasuki is undergoing investigation by a committee of the government to audit the procurement of arms/equipment in the Armed Forces and Defence Sector from 2007 to date. According to Diri, an intern report of the committee shows that over $2 billion was allegedly embezzled and Dasuki’s presence is required to assist in further investigation.
The DPPF also told the court that “there is a Federal Government directive for arrest of all those indicted by the report, including the defendant (Dasuki) and that the ongoing investigation which borders on money laundering against the defendant has not been concluded and there is fear that investigation might be tempered with on account of foreign visit by the respondent before the completion of investigation.
Diri also, among others, stated in the application that the ailment for which permission was given to Dasuki to travel to the United Kingdom for treatment can be properly treated in the National Hospital, Abuja and other teaching hospitals in Nigeria.
Lead counsel to Dasuki, Joseph Daudu (SAN), objected to the prosecution’s application and reminded the court that yesterday’s business was for the Federal Government to explain to the court why the order of the court was violated by the operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) by laying siege to Dasuki’s house after the court had permitted him to travel abroad for medical attention.
Daudu said the essence of the preliminary objection by the defence was to deny the Federal Government any indulgence until the order of the court is obeyed and that Dasuki’s absence in court was justified as he has not violated any of his bail conditions.
Justice Ademola therefore adjourned till November 26 to rule on the applications.
It will be recalled that Dasuki sued the government over breach of his fundamental rights.