- Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser (NSA), asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to adjourn his trial
- Dasuki pleaded for adjournment of trial on five grounds in a motion filed on September 14
- The applicant on Tuesday, October 17, argued through his counsel, Ahmed Raji that the adjournment is imperative
Sambo Dasuki, the former National Security Adviser, pleaded with the Federal High Court in Abuja to adjourn indefinitely his trial in the charges of unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering brought against him since 2015 by the federal government.
Reports have it that Dasuki on Tuesday, October 17, argued by his counsel, Ahmed Raji, said that the adjournment became imperative because he has referred to constitutional issues that arose in the course of his trial to the Court of Appeal for determination.
In the motion brought pursuant to section 305(1a) and 492 (3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and section 36 of the 1999 constitution, the ex-NSA prayed for an order of the court to adjourn trial or further trial in the charges against him pending determination of his appeal at the Court of Appeal.
Moving the motion dated and filed on September 14, 2017, the applicant pleaded for adjournment of trial on five grounds of law.
Essentially, he claimed that his appeal with number CA/A/523C/2017 borders on constitutional issues and has to be determined one way or the order by the Court of Appeal before a meaningful trial can proceed.
Dasuki recalled before the court the ruling of June 15, 2017, in which the court granted protection by way of screening to witnesses that will testify for the federal government and against him in the charges of unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering.
The applicant claimed that the protection granted the witnesses violated section 36 of the 1999 constitution that entitles him to fair trial.
Specifically, the former NSA wants the appellate court to set aside the protection of the witnesses and to allow all the witnesses to be seen by him and his legal team in the interest of fairness.
He claimed that since his grounds of appeal raised a very serious constitutional issue which necessitated his filing of Notice of Appeal at the Court of Appeal to stay proceedings in his trial, it is incumbent for the High Court to allow the Appeal Court determine the issue.
He urged the court to look at section 305 of the ACJA 2015, which he said enjoined the lower court to tarry a while when a constitutional matter has been referred to the Appeal Court.
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According to him, “We are not asking for stay of trial, we just want this court to take note that major constitutional issues arose on fair trial and witness protection and since these constitutional issues have been referred to the Appeal Court it is the normal practice for the lower court to await outcome of such issues before proceeding in the main issue.’’
However, the federal government counsel, Dipo Okpeseyi in a vehement opposition to the request urged Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed to dismiss the motion for been an abused of court process, vexatious and a calculated attempt to undermine the provisions of the ACJA for speedy trial in a criminal matter.
Okpeseyi said: “This motion is a smokescreen to delay the trial and to put a clog in the wheel of provisions of the ACJA on speedy dispensation of criminal matters and should be dismissed.''
Justice Mohammed fixed November 15 for ruling on the motion.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had reported that the hearing on the appeal lodged by Dasuki had been adjourned by the Supreme Court to January 25, 2018.
He was alleged to have siphoned billions of dollars earmarked for arms purchase, during the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
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