By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Federal Government, yesterday, asked the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court to revoke the bail it granted the former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, retd.
The government, in an application it filed pursuant to section 169 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, sought for an order committing the former NSA to prison pending his trial.
It will be recalled that though Dasuki was on September 1, granted bail by the high court on self recognition, however, trial Justice Ademola Adeniyi, on November 13, while granting the defendant leave to travel abroad for medical treatment, varied his bail condition.
Justice Adeniyi ordered the erstwhile NSA to produce a surety that must be ready to face prosecution should he (Dasuki), go into hiding after his medical treatment in the United Kingdom.
The court further directed the release of his hitherto seized traveling documents, saying Dasuki should return same to the Deputy Chief Registrar, Litigation of the high court within 72 hours of his return from the three weeks medical trip.
It was the order that the government yesterday asked the court to vacate by revoking the bail that was granted to the defendant.
Meantime, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, yesterday, failed to honour the summon that was issued for him to appear before court to explain why Dasuki has remained under house arrest despite the leave granted for him to travel for medical treatment.
Though Justice Adeniyi specifically ordered the AGF to appear before him yesterday, however, the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, Mr. Mohammed Diri, announced appearance on his behalf.
Diri told the court that he was eminently qualified to represent the AGF in the matter, contending that no contempt proceeding is pending against the AGF.
The DPP rather queried the continued absence of Dasuki in court, even as he urged the court to order his appearance at the next adjourned date.
The position of the DPP infuriated Dasuki’s lawyers led by Mr. J. B. Daudu, SAN, who accused the AGF of having little regard for the court.
Daudu insisted that the AGF ought to have shown respect to the court by obeying the summon on him, noting that the Solicitor-General of the Federation, Mr. Taiwo Abidogun, had at the last adjourned date, entered an undertaking that the AGF would be in court yesterday.
Meantime, while agreeing with Dasuki’s lawyers that the AGF ought to have appeared in court yesterday, Justice Adeniyi, fixed November 26 to determine the merit of FG’s application for bail revocation.
On why the bail should be revoked, FG, yesterday, told the court that Dasuki is undergoing investigation by the committee auditing procurement of arms/equipment in the Armed Forces and Defence Sector from 2007 to date.
It said that an interim report of the committee showed that over $2 billion was allegedly embezzled and that Dasuki’s presence is required to assist in further investigation.
“That there is a federal government directive for the arrest of all those indicted by the report, including the defendant (Dasuki) and that the ongoing investigation which borders on money laundering against the defendant has not been concluded and there is fear that investigation might be tempered with on account of foreign visit by the respondent before the completion of investigation”, Diri stated in the application.
He added also that the ailment for which permission was given to Dasuki to travel to the United Kingdom for treatment can be properly treated in the National Hospital, Abuja and other teaching hospital in Nigeria.
Besides, FG, told the court that there is an intelligence report that Dasuki has concluded plans to take the advantage of the court order releasing his International Passport to escape justice and tamper with ongoing investigations.
Daudu objected to the application, contending that FG could not pray the court for such relief when it has refused to obey a subsisting order of the court.
Daudu argued that the federal government should not be granted any indulgence by the court until it stops the siege to Dasuki’s home.
In a fundamental right enforcement application he filed before the court, Dasuki who is facing a five-count criminal charge bordering on money laundering and his alleged illegal possession of firearms, wants and order directing FG and operatives of the DSS to vacate his house located at 13, John Kadija Street, Asokoro with immediate effect.