Former National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd) has pleaded with the Federal High Court in Abuja to adjourn indefinitely his trial in the charges of unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering brought against him since 2015 by the Federal government
On Tuesday, Dasuki in a motion on notice argued by his counsel, Mr. Ahmed Raji, SAN, in Abuja said that the adjournment became imperative because he has referred to constitutional issues that arose in the course of his trial to the Court of Appeal for determination.
Moving the motion dated and filed on September 14, 2017, the applicant pleaded for adjournment of trial on five grounds of law.
Essentially, he claimed that his appeal with number CA/A/523C/2017 borders on constitutional issues and has to be determined one way or the order by the Court of Appeal before a meaningful trial can proceed.
Dasuki recalled before the court the ruling of June 15, 2017, in which the court granted protection by way of screening to witnesses that will testify for the federal government and against him in the charges of unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering.
Specifically, the former NSA wants the appellate court to set aside the protection of the witnesses and to allow all the witnesses to be seen by him and his legal team in the interest of fairness.
He claimed that since his grounds of appeal raised a very serious constitutional issue which necessitated his filing of Notice of Appeal at the Court of Appeal to stay proceedings in his trial, it is incumbent for the High Court to allow the Appeal Court determine the issue.
He urged the court to look at section 305 of the ACJA 2015, which he said enjoined the lower court to tarry a while when a constitutional matter has been referred to the Appeal Court.
However, the Federal government counsel, Mr. Dipo Okpeseyi SAN in a vehement opposition to the request urged Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed to dismiss the motion for been an abused of court process, vexatious and a calculated attempt to undermine the provisions of the ACJA for speedy trial in a criminal matter.
The counsel argued that Dasuki’s motion emanated from the referral of a matter to the Appeal Court, adding that by law, referrals can only be made by Court.
He contended that since the High Court did not refer any matter to the Court of Appeal, there is no reason to grant an adjournment in respect of a referral that was done without the permission of the court.
He argued that Dasuki’s motion was for stay of trial and not for adjournment and that the motion runs counter to the intendment and purposes of the ACJA to the effect that Criminal matters be taken day to day by trial court.
Besides, the counsel argued that no material was placed before the court to grant the motion and to suggest that there would be miscarriage of justice if the trial proceeds.
“This motion is a smokescreen to delay the trial and to put a clog in the wheel of provisions of the ACJA on speedy dispensation of criminal matters and should be dismissed”, Okpeseyi said.