Arms Deal: Trial To Proceed As Dasuki Loses Application On Contempt Of Court
… Badeh To Remain In Detention, As Court Strikes Out Bail Application
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court has ruled against the application of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki, seeking to stop his trial for lack of merit.
Justice Peter Affen, in his over ruling yesterday, threw away the application, saying Dasuki was unable to prove that he was being held by the prosecutor, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), after he was granted bail.
In another development, former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Marshal Alex Badeh, is to remain in detention, as the Federal High Court, also in Abuja, struck out his bail application.
Justice James Tsoho yesterday struck out a bail application brought before the court Badeh.Justice Affen insisted that the EFCC had not disobeyed the order of court, because it did not have the accused person in its custody.
He also held that the order for bail did not preclude Dasuki from arrest for any other alleged offence.When the application was argued earlier on February 26, Dasuki alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari was behind his unlawful arrest and detention without trial.
Speaking through his Counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN), Dasuki claimed that Buhari initiated his detention, despite the bail granted him by three different courts.
In an affidavit filed in support of his application, Dasuki claimed that the President betrayed his emotion during a chat with journalists in December when he told Nigerians that he and Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), might not be released because they would jump bail.
Dasuki also claimed that he had been held incommunicado since his re-arrest and, therefore, asked Justice Affen to stop his trial until the federal government purged itself of contempt and comply with its order granting him bail.
The former NSA believed his continued detention would deny him the opportunity to prepare effectively for defence in the criminal charges brought against him by the EFCC.
Daudu said even though Dasuki was being held by the Department of State Services (DSS) and not the EFCC, both the DSS and the EFCC were agents of the same government, who is the complainant in the charges against Dasuki.
Opposing the application, Counsel to the federal government, Rotimi Jacobs, argued that the charges against Dasuki were initiated by the EFCC and not DSS.
He added that the EFCC did not disobey the order of the court granting Dasuki bail, but that the accused person was being held by another government agency.
Jacobs asked the Judge to dismiss the application because the DSS, which was holding the accused person, was not a party to the charges against him in court.
The Judge also ruled that the continued detention of Dasuki did not violate his order granting him bail on December 21, last year.He ruled that Dasuki’s application lacked merit and concluded that he should proceed on trial on April 20 and 22, this year.
Last month, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of the same court also dismissed Dasuki’s application to stop his trial.
In the case of Badeh, Justice Tsoho held that there was a subsisting remand order, which has not been set aside by a Magistrate Court in Lagos.
As a result, he refused to give an order for the release of the applicant, since there was no application setting aside the order of the Magistrate Court.
He explained that Badeh only filed an application for bail and not an application to set aside the order of the Magistrate Court procured by the EFCC to keep him in custody.
He, therefore, struck out the application.Justice Tsoho had last Monday reserved yesterday for ruling on the bail application filed by Badeh, who has been in EFCC custody since February 8 for his alleged role in the $2.1bn arms scandal.
The Judge reserved the date after Counsels to both parties made submissions for and against the motion.
Counsel to Badeh, Samuel Zibiri, brought the application, pursuant to sections 35 (4) and 36 (5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Zibiri also hinged the application on Sections 158,162 and 165 (2) of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act.
The applicant’s Counsel had sought the order of the court to admit Badeh to bail on self-recognisance or on liberal terms, pending his arraignment by the anti-graft agency, having voluntarily honoured the EFCC’s invitation on February 8.
Zibiri also submitted that the applicant had been detained for more than the period required by the constitution without trial, more so as the allegation for which he was being detained was bailable and the applicant would not jump bail or escape justice when admitted to bail.
On whether the court had the jurisdiction to entertain the application, considering that the applicant was being held in Lagos, Zibiri answered in the affirmative.
EFCC’s Counsel, Cosmos Ugwu, opposed the application, saying the commission should be allowed to complete its investigation.
Ugwu argued that Badeh’s current detention in Lagos was not related to the earlier issues that led to his invitation and subsequent detention in Abuja.
Badeh was to be arraigned before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court on Thursday, but the case was shifted to Monday, March 7 owing to the absence of the Judge at the time.The former Defence Chief was facing a 10-count charge of criminal breach of trust and corruption to the tune N3.9 billion.
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