$2.1b Arms Deal: Prosecution Agrees to Consolidate Charges against Dasuki
The Federal Government on Wednesday finally agreed to consolidate the criminal charges filed against former National Security Adviser, (NSA) Colonel Sambo Dasuki and others before two different High Courts of the Federal Capital Territory Judiciary.
This is coming barely 24 hours after the ECOWAS Court ordered the Federal Government to release Dasuki from indefinite detention he has been kept since December last year.
The decision to consolidate the charges followed a complaint by the former NSA that putting him on trial in two different courts on the same issues would prejudice and cause him double jeopardy.
At the resumption of the trial yesterday, counsel to the Federal Government, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN and that of Dasuki, Chief Joseph Daudu, SAN agreed before Justice Baba Yusuf to formally write the Chief Judge of the FCT judiciary, Justice Ishaq Bello, to consolidate the two charges in the interest of justice.
Both the prosecutor and the defence lawyers consequently applied to Justice Yusuf to adjourn the matter pending the time the chief judge would consider the application for consolidation.
Justice Yusuf, who was billed to give ruling on Dasuki’s motion for consolidation yesterday, put off the ruling as a result of the understanding between the prosecution and the defence and adjourned the matter till October 21, 2016.
Dasuki was charged before Justices Yusuf and Peter Affen both of the FCT High Court on similar issues.
However, Dasuki alleging abuse of judicial process in his trial applied that the two charges at the two courts be consolidated since they were on the same issues and alleged contravention of the same laws.
He is standing trial on allegation of alleged misappropriation of about $1.2 billion fund along with four others before Justice Yusuf.
However, Dasuki insisted that the charges against him by the complainant on the same issue constituted a gross abuse of court process.
In a motion brought pursuant to Section 6 and 36 of the 1999 Constitution and Sections 1, 208, 396, 491 and 492 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, Dasuki had claimed that the two charges revolved around the same set of transactions and facts on the alleged funds misappropriation and the 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 the two courts were 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 transactions of the office of the NSA would be prejudicial and great hardship against him.
In the alternative, Dasuki prayed that his name be struck out from one of the two charges in the interest of justice.
Others charged with Dasuki are former Director of Finance and Administration, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Shuaibu Salisu; former General Manager, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aminu Babakusa and two firms: Acacia Holdings Limited and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited.