Nigeria: Dasuki Faces Fresh Charges Over $2.1bn Arms Fraud
The Nigeria Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has filed fresh charges against Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), former National Security Adviser, who is accused of criminal diversion of funds to the tune of $2.1billion, whichwas part of funds earmarked by the Federal Government to fight Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast.
According to Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, counsel to the EFCC, the charge was amended to remove the second defendant and also to bring up fresh charges against the other defendants.
With the amendment, he said, the initial 19 counts charge preferred against the defendants have increased to 32.
Dasuki is facing trial alongside Attahiru Bafarawa, a former governor of Sokoto State; his son, Sagir Bafarawa; a former Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu; a former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda as well as Sagir’s firm, Dalhatu Investment.
Winson Uwujaren, the EFCC spokesman, told AltAfrika.com that other defendants in the matter had frantically sought to be separately tried, to ensure speedy determination of their cases, but eventually lost the bid at the Supreme Court onMarch 2, 2018, which decision ordered accelerated hearing, instead.
Consequently, he said, the trial court, presided over by Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, fixed April 13, for a pre-trial conference, in other to ensure effective management of the two separate charges against Dasuki and other defendants.
At the resumed sitting on Wednesday, EFCC counsel, Jacobs informed the court about the outcome of the conference and also told the court about the amended charge, urging the court to accept it.
His words: “In line with your Lordship’s directive, we held the conference, except that the senior counsel for the defendants were not there. They sent their juniors to represent them.
“My Lord, their attitude is to oppose everything we seek to tender. We have served them the additional documents and we have also filed an amended charge dated and filed April 30, 2018.
“I urge my Lord to accept the amended charge and allow it”.
Jacobs further told the court that “one of the reasons for allowing it is that it tends to remove the second defendant and also there are additional counts to make them 32 counts”.
Dasuki’s counsel, Ahmed Raji, SAN, confirmed the receipt of the amended charge, urging the court to graciously avail the first defendant more time to enable them study the additional counts.
“I confirm that around 5:30pm on Monday, my office was served. Yesterday, there was no work, so this morning my attention was brought to it.
“I have not had the privilege of discussing the content with the first defendant. I scantly went through it and discovered that the counts are now almost double”, Raji said.
Justice Baba-Yusuf, thereafter, adjourned to May 16, 2018 for the former NSA and his co-accused to take their pleas on the amended charge.