Dasuki seeks to stop trial-in-absentia

Former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, who is standing trial over alleged misappropriation of funds meant for the purchase of arms in the fight against Boko Haram terrorists has asked a trial court to suspend his trial indefinitely pending when the Federal Government complies with orders of Courts which granted him bail.
Dasuki, who is still being held by the Department of State Services (DSS) despite being granted bail by six different courts of competent jurisdictions filed an application before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

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Recall that the trial judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed had, on November 19, 2018, ruled that Dasuki’s trial will continue in his absence following his refusal to attend trial. At the resumed trial on Tuesday, counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Dipo Okpeseyi (SAN), expressed readiness to proceed with the case, but defense lawyer, Adeola Adedipe, informed the judge about the fresh application filed by his client.

Adedipe stated,“We filed an application this morning in court after an extensive deliberation on the right approach. The issue raised in the application is such that having formed part of the court record, the court has to avoid a situation where it would have acted in vain if further trial is conducted today. I submit that it is primarily incompetent to further prosecute trial in this case. It is a threshold issue.

“The application filed on December 11 and dated December 10 should be set down for hearing as against continuation of trial primarily because the said application touches on the competence of the counsel of the complainant to further prosecute this matter.”

Responding, Okpeseyi said: “I have seen the application served on me this morning and I also heard that this matter is set down for hearing. The said application is not ripe for hearing having just been served on me this morning.
“So the said application by my learned counsel to be set for hearing is premature and cannot be a basis to discharge the scheduled hearing of this court. When we get to bridge, we shall cross it. Let’s continue with the daily business and call our witness. I reserve all comment on the application as it is premature.”
Delivering his ruling, justice Muhammed adjourned the case to January 9, 2019, to allow for the hearing of Dasuki’s fresh application.

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