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FG Files Fresh Charges Against Dasuki, Wants Witnesses Masked

Valentine Chinyem

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The Federal Government has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to allow witnesses testifying against the Former National Security Adviser to Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Dasuki wear mask in court.

This is coming as the Former NSA was re-arraigned in Court yesterday with fresh charges added to the one-count charge earlier filed against him.

Apart from lawyers and accredited journalists, the state asked the court to exclude members of the public from the trial and that the witnesses be permitted to wear face masks while giving evidence.

It could be recalled that the former NSA was first arraigned in September, before Justice Adeniyi Ademola on a one-count charge, on allegation of illegal possession of firearms without requisite license contrary to Section 27(1) (a) (i) of the Firearms Act Cap F28, Law of Federation of Nigeria 2004.

However, Monday’s sitting was meant for commencement of trial, but trial could not hold following the endorsement and filing of an amended charge against Dasuki by the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation, Mohammad Diri.

The amended charge was brought pursuant to Section 104 and 379 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, and filed in court by counsel to the prosecution, Shuaibu Labaran.

After the five-count charge was read to Dasuki, he pleaded not guilty, and was allowed bail under previous terms.

However, in a similar vein, the Federal Government filed a motion on notice duly signed by the DPP seeking secret trial of the accused person.

The application was brought in accordance with the provision Section 36(4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Section 232 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

Labaran had premised his application on the ground that considering the status of Dasuki and positions of responsibility he had served in the country, “the trial may likely suffer setback because the witnesses would not testify without secret trial for fear of reprisal from undisclosed places or persons.”

But Dasuki’s counsel, Joseph Daudu, SAN, opposed the application and urged the trial to dismiss it.

In particular, Daudu argued that the charge for which Dasuki was being prosecuted, “is not a terrorism charge and does not pose any national threat.”

In view of the application, the court adjourned till Wednesday (tomorrow) for ruling and for hearing of Dasuki’s application seeking release of his international documents to enable him embark on medical trip, just as the court directed the prosecution counsel to file his counter affidavit.

Count one of the amended charge, according to the prosecution, revealed some of the items recovered in the Asokoro residence of the defendant on July 16, 2015. They include five Tavor assault rifles, 20 magazines, five rifles, small magazine containing 16 rounds of ammunition, one packet of MoD (Ministry of Defence) APG calibre gun, and Luger No 33373 (gun).

Others are one macro Uzi with serial No 60244 (rifle), five packets of rifle with 16 rounds of 9mm ammunition, bigger magazine with 23 live rounds of 9mm ammunition, a bullet proof Range Rover vehicle with one magazine of 16 rounds ammunition, and another Range Rover vehicle with 36 rounds of live ammunition.

More so, in count two, Sambo Dasuki was accused of retaining funds which form part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, contrary to Section 15(2) (d) of Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended), among others.