Neither the Federal Government nor the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is in disobedience of any order of the court by re-arresting ex-National Security Adviser (NSA) Mohammed Sambo Dasuki, a court has said.
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),in Abuja ruled that it was wrong for Dasuki to accuse the Federal Government and the EFCC of violating the order granting him bail when there was evidence that he was only arrested after he had earlier been released from the prison upon his meeting the bail conditions.
The ruling delivered by Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf was on an application by Dasuki, in which he had sought, among others, an order restraining the EFCC from proceeding with his prosecution and an order quashing the charge against him.
Dasuki had, through his lawyers, Joseph Daudu (SAN) and Ahmed Raji (SAN), urged the court not to indulge either the Federal Government or the EFCC by proceeding with Dasuki’s trial on the ground that its agency had rearrested Dasuki after the bail earlier granted him.
Dasuki is being tried with a former Director of Finance and Administration, Office of the National Security Adviser, Shuaibu Salisu, a former General Manager, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aminu Babakusa and two companies – Acacia Holdings Limited and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited – on a 19-count charge bordering on money laundering and criminal breach of trust.
Justice Yusuf dismissed Dasuki’s application on the ground that it lacked merit.
The judge, who read out the orders made by the court on December 18 last year, granting bail to the ex-NSA, rejected Dasuki’s claim that the order was violated by virtue of his re-arrest by the Department of State Services (DSS).
He said the court never restrained the complainant (EFCC) from re-arresting the 1st defendant (Dasuki) after his release from prison. He added that since Dasuki admitted that he was released from prison on January 29, having met the bail condition, it was not the court’s business that he was rearrested by another agency of the Federal Government – the DSS – who is not a party to the case.
The judge said his order granting bail to the ex-NSA was not against his re-arrest and that the EFCC could not be blamed for the action of the Federal Government even when they were both Federal Government agencies.
From paragraphs 6 and 7 of affidavit in support of this application, it is clear that after the first defendant/applicant satisfied the terms in Exhibit ‘Dasuki 2’, he was released from from Federal prisons on December 29, 2015. At this point, the order of the court, as far as I am concerned, which was directed at the Comptroller of Prisons, was in my view complied with.
“If the EFCC rearrested the first defendant thereafter, it makes, subject to the circumstances of such arrest, an interference with due administration of justice but it cannot be a disobedience to the order of the court to release the applicant on bail and the reason is because in making the order of bail in favour of the first defendant this court did not make any order against a re-arrest.
“However, the prosecution has debunked assertion that they rearrested the first defendant after his re-arrest from prison and stated that the first defendant is in the custody of Department of State Security Service. I do not agree that because the DSS and the prosecuting EFCC are agencies of the Federal Government, the act of one can be attributed to the other.
“The two agencies are creation of the Constitution with different laws guiding their operations and functions. The argument of Mr. J.B Daudu (SAN) that the agencies act on behalf of the Federal Government and that the agencies act on behalf of the Federal Government and the roles the same agencies played, and that the Federal Government is liable for their action and omission does not impress me.
“The fact that they prosecute on behalf of the Federal Government, is merely to aid the due administration of criminal justice. The agencies have separate identities and personalities vested in each to own property and to maintain action in court of law.
“It is my view that the relationship ascribed by the senior counsel (Daudu) to the Federal Government and its agencies, if accepted, will work greater damage to due administration of justice and otherwise.
“In my view, the approach that suits the approach of this case is for the 1st defendant, having been told that he is being held by a stranger in this case before this court, is to apply for the enforcement of his fundamental rights to personal liberty pursuant to personal liberty under section 46 of the 1999 Constitution.
“Having come to the conclusion that the complainant in this case is not in contempt of my order of December 18, 2015, there is no need for me to consider the arguments of parties which were canvassed in respect of the need or otherwise to stay proceedings in this case.
“At the end, it is my view that the application, filed on behalf of the first defendant, does not have any merit and I hold so. I therefore dismiss same,” Justice Yusuf said.
At the end of the judge’s ruling, prosecution lawyer Oluwaleke Atolagbe, asked the judge for a date for the commencement of trial.
Ahmed Raji (SAN), who represented Dasuki, objected to a date for the commencement of trial. He said his client was unable to prepare for trial because he was allegedly denied access to his lawyers.
Raji urged the court to give a date long enough to enable the ex-NSA get over his current inability to meet with his legal team in view of his current incarceration by “a stranger in this case”.
Justice Yusuf adjourned till March 23 for trial.