By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA——An Abuja High Court sitting at Maitama has declined to quash the 19-count money laundering charge that was preferred against the former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
In a ruling on Monday afternoon, trial Justice Hussein Baba Yusuf, dismissed the application which Dasuki filed through his team of lawyers led by Mr. Joseph Daudu, SAN, as grossly lacking in merit.
Justice Yusuf disagreed with Dasuki that his continued detention, despite the fact that he had perfected the bail conditions that were handed to him on December 18, 2015, amounted to contempt of court.
The court noted that the EFCC had in a 26-paragraphed counter-affidavit it filed in opposition to the application, averred that Dasuki was on December 29, re-arrested by operatives of the Department of State Service, DSS, after he was released from Kuje prison in line with the bail order.
It stressed that the EFCC and the DSS are two separate agencies, saying the only option available to Dasuki was for him to initiate a fundamental right enforcement proceeding against the federal government.
While refusing to discharge the former NSA from the N32billion charge, Justice Yusuf gave the EFCC the nod to open its case against him on March 23.
Dasuki is facing trial before the court alongside the erstwhile Director of Finance in the Office of the NSA, Mr. Shuaibu Salisu and a former Executive Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Aminu Baba-Kusa.
Also charged over the alleged fraud were two firms- Acacia Holding Limited and Reliance Referal Hospital Limited, which the anti-graft agency identified as conduit pipes through which the N32bn was allegedly siphoned from accounts the office of the NSA operated with both the Central Bank of Nigeria and other financial institutions.
The funds were allegedly distributed to delegates that attended the Presidential Primary Election the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, held in Abuja, a process that saw the emergence of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan as the sole candidate of the party.
More details soon.