The trial of former National Security Adviser (NSA) Colonel Mohammed Sambo Dasuki in the alleged diversion of arms funds is facing a fresh delay as the Federal Government filed 32-count amended charges against him.
The filing of the amended charge is coming almost 3 years after the Federal Government arraigned the former NSA before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on 18 count charge. In the amended charges coming barely one year to the general elections as names of prominent politicians from the opposition party are as beneficiaries.
Apart from filing new charges with fresh names, a new twist was also introduced into the trial by government as a key core defendant in the matter Salisu Shuaib who was a former Director of Finance and Supply in the ONSA under Colonel Dasuki was dropped from the new charge.
The amended charge dated April 30, 2018 was signed by Mr Chili Okoroma, Director of Legal Services with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). No reason could be immediately obtained on why the former Director of Finance in ONSA who served along with Colonel Dasuki was dropped from the trial having being arraigned together since 2015.
However, lead counsel to Dasuki, Mr. Ahmed Raji, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who was sighted at the FCT High Court along with Dasuki told judiciary correspondents that he did not know the deal between Salisu Shuaib, the Federal Government and EFCC on the new twist.
Raji however said that subsequent event in the trial will reveal to the defendants and their counsel all the circumstances leading to the dropping of the core accused, adding that “till then we will keep our fingers crossed.”
Apart from Dasuki, other defendants in the amended charge are Aminu Baba Kusa, Acacia Holding Limited and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited. Among top Nigerians alleged by the Federal Government to have collected money from former NSA are the current National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, former Chairman Board of Trustees PDP, Chief Tony Anenih; former PDP Spokesperson, Chief Olisa Metuh; Publisher of Thisday, Nduka Obaigbena, Senator Iyorcia Ayu, Chairman AIT Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, Mouftah Baba-Ahmed, Bello Abba Mohammed, Dr. Bello Mohammed, AVM M. N Umar, Otunba Jona Ogunniyi among others.
Apart from individuals, corporate organisations were also named as beneficiaries in the new charges and they include AMP Solar Service, Afro-Arab Investment, Bam Project and Projecties Limited, Bob Oshodin Organisation Limited, Wehsac Farms Limited, Wehsac Limited, Dimaris Mode Coolture Limited, First Aralac Global Limited, Stellavera Development Limited, Jawaz Multi-purpose Venture Limited, Little Italy Global Services Limited, Belsha Nigeria Ltd and Syvan McNamara Limited among others. It would be recalled that Dasuki, Salisu Shuaibu and three others were arraigned in 2015 on the same charge and pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.
They were subsequently admitted to bail but however Colonel Dasuki was arrested after perfecting the bail conditions on December 29, 2015 and had been in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) without filing any other charge against him. The trial had since suffered series of delays at the instance of the Federal Government most especially in the inability of the DSS to produce the ex-NSA in court for trial as required by law.
Meanwhile, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of the FCT High Court is expected to take the fresh plea of the 4 defendants on May 17, 2018.