ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – The immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Mohammed Dasuki (rtd) will tomorrow (Tuesday) know his fate at the Federal High Court (FHC) in Abuja, if his request to travel abroad for medical check-up pending his trial would be granted.
The court is expected to also rule on an application by the Federal Government for a secret trial of the former NSA on a five-count charge bothering on illegal possession of firearms and possession of amounts of local and foreign currency in his residence contrary to Money Laundering Act.
The former NSA was first charged on Monday August 24 on a one count charge of illegal possession of firearms but was immediately granted bail on self recognition with Justice Adeniyi Ademola ordering the Department of State Security Services (DSS) to submit his seized passport to the court registrar.
But on October 26 when the case was supposed to be heard, Dasuki asked the court for the release of his travel passport to enable him attend to his personal health issues abroad and as well objected to the secret trial requested by the government, preferring open trial of the case for the benefit of the public.
Justice Ademola had then adjourned the case to Wednesday last week for ruling on the two issues being sought by both prosecution and defence but the court failed to sit on that day because of a seminar organised for judges by the National Judicial Institute (NJI).
Dasuki, had through his lead counsel, Joseph Daudu, applied for the medical check-up, on the ground that he was due for treatment since July but that he could not travel due to seizure of his passport.
But at the resumed trial on Monday, Justice Ademola held that the ruling on the application by the former NSA for the release of his travelling documents, especially his international passport and permission to travel out of the country for three weeks to treat an undisclosed ailment would be decided tomorrow.
Daudu in the application for permission to travel abroad for medical attention, had argued that his client (Dasuki) was suffering from a sickness that requires urgent attention of his medical doctors abroad.
The counsel urged Justice Ademola to grant the application and order the release of Dasuki’s passport said to be in custody of the registrar of FHC.
The former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), informed the court that Dasuki would return after the treatment and as well as deposit the passport back to the court for custody.
Daodu further argued that the former NSA is presumed innocent until proven guilty, in spite of the criminal charges against him, and that the accused has to be alive and healthy enough to stand for trial.
“It is therefore, only necessary that the accused person be allowed to go for the medical attention,” he argued.
However, in a strong opposition to the application, counsel to the Federal Government, Mohammed Diri, submitted that sickness being suffered by the accused person is the type that could be treated at the National Hospital in Abuja.
Diri, who is leading the prosecution team, told the court that the three weeks period being sought by the accused person to enable him access medical attention abroad was a plot to delay his trial for unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering.
The prosecution claimed that Dasuki was being investigated for another money laundering and that he might escape if allowed to travel out of the country.
According to him, the travelling document of the former NSA was the only condition for granting him bail and that if released to him, he (Dasuki) may run away since he has no surety.
Justice Ademola, after hearing arguments from both parties in the matter, adjourned till tomorrow to decide whether to grant Dasuki’s request or not and to also decide the Federal Government’s application for secret trial of the former NSA.
The Federal Government filed fresh charges against the former NSA, which now include alleged retention of funds which formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act contrary to section 15 (2)(d) of Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.
Dasuki pleaded not guilty to the fresh five-count charge as against the earlier one count charge and was admitted to bail in the previous term by the trial Judge.