The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday informed Justice Baba Yusuf of a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama, that the embattled former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), refused to be brought to court for his trial.
Dasuki, a former Director of Finance and Administration in the NSA office, Shuaibu Salisu? and a former General Manager of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Aminu Babakusa are being prosecuted by the anti-graft agency on 19 counts of diversion of? N32bn meant for arms procurement.
The presiding judge had on February 8 fixed Wednesday for trial to begin after dismissing Dasuki’s application that sought an order prohibiting the EFCC from further prosecuting him on account of his continued detention.
But on Wednesday, Dasuki, who ?has been in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS, since December 29, 2015, was not produced in court, even as his two lead counsel, Messrs Joseph Daudu SAN and Ahmed Raji SAN also did not show up.
EFCC’s lead lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs SAN reacted to this by informing the judge that Dasuki refused to be brought to court because the senior lawyers defending him would not be present in court on Wednesday.
“The first defendant said he would not be in court unless he is abducted because his lead counsel, J.B Daudu and Ahmed Raji, were not going to be in court,” Jacobs said, adding that Daudu had informed him of an application for stay of the proceedings of the trial which was filed before the Court of Appeal on behalf of the former NSA.
Stressing that the law never stopped an accused person in detention from facing trial, Jacobs further alleged that Dasuki’s lawyers had deliberately refused to visit their client in the DSS’ custody so that they could continue to use the excuse of lack of access to him (Dasuki) as an excuse to frustrate the case.
His words, “When a defendant is in custody, the counsel should be allowed access to the defendant.
“I asked the DSS whether the lawyers ever made attempt to see him, they said they never did. It is a deliberate plant to frustrate the trial.”
Meanwhile, the attorney who represented Dasuki in court on Wednesday, Mr. Wale Balogun, debunked the allegation that his client refused to be brought to court.
Noting that the defence lawyer is not aware of the allegations, he argued that: “The defendant is not in court. He has not been produced. It is the requirement of the law that he should be here. The prosecution has not applied for the accused to be excused from court.”
“The DSS official should have deposed to an affidavit? to that effect.”
Other defence lawyers, including Mr. Solomon Umoh SAN held that the matter could not proceed since Dasuki was not available.
Justice Yusuf consequently adjourned the case till April 6.