ABUJA— Justice Baba Yusuf of the Abuja High Court has said the two sets of charges brought against former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), could not be consolidated because of so many defendants involved in the charges.
The judge said the two charges, if merged, would make the trial difficult for the court to manage and, therefore, declined to consolidate them.
Delivering ruling in a motion argued by Dasuki in which he prayed the court to consolidate the two charges against him so as not to suffer double jeopardy, Justice Yusuf said the applicant had not shown to the court that he had been tried or convicted on the same offence before any other court.
The judge held that the fear of double jeopardy was not substantiated because trials in the two charges had not started in full blown.
The court said it was premature for the applicant to raise the issue of double jeopardy and abuse of court process when there was no evidence pointing to that direction in the trial.
Besides, Justice Yusuf said the alleged offences which brought about the two charges were not committed in one transaction and that consolidation of the two charges would make the trial cumbersome and difficult because of the high number of the defendants involved in the two charges.
He also said the suggested consolidation if granted, would also work against accelerated trial of the two charges which had earlier been granted by the court.
It would be recalled that Dasuki had alleged before the Court that the federal government planned to ambush him with double jeopardy in the two criminal charges brought against him at the court and pleaded that the two charges be consolidated in the interest of justice, fair play and due process.
Dasuki, who had been detained after being granted multiple bails by courts, had said that the federal government in the quest to nail him, had engaged in gross abuse of court and legal process by instituting various criminal charges against him on just one issue of the office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA.
In his motion filed to challenge the alleged abuse of court process by government, Dasuki said it was wrong in law and even against natural justice for the government to prosecute him on two different charges on the same alleged arms fund diversion.
In the motion argued by his lead counsel, Mr. Joseph Daudu SAN, the ex NSA insisted that the two charges be consolidated by the authorities of the court in the interest of justice in order to rescue him from double jeopardy planned for him by government.
The motion on notice was brought pursuant to sections 6(6)(a); 36(5) & (9) of the 1999 constitution (as amended); section 1(1); 208;396 (3); 491 & 492(3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015; section 25 of the Interpretation Act Dasuki sought an order of the court consolidating charge no. FCT/HC/CR 2015 between FRN VS COL. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) & 4 others with charge No. FCT/HC/CR/2015 between FRN VS Bashir Yuguda, Col. Mohammed Sabo Dasuki & 4 others.
The others parties in the matter are former Director of Finance and Administration, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Shuaibu Salisu; former General Manager, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aminu Babakusa and two firms: Acacia Holdings Limited and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited.