A High Court at Maitama in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has heard of how N280.4 million security vote was transferred from office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) to individuals’ accounts.
An officer of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Michael Adariku, made this fact known today, Monday, while testifying in the ongoing trial of Sambo Dasuki, a former National Security Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan and three others.
On trial along with Dasuki were Aminu Baba-Kusa, a former NNPC Executive Director, and two firms- Acacia Holdings and Reliance Referral Hospital. They were arraigned in 2015, on a 19- count charge.
EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), on May 2 informed the court that the EFCC had amended the charges from 19 to 32, and Salisu was excluded in the amended charge.
The 32 charges bordered on criminal breach of trust, misappropriation and dishonest release and receiving of various sums of money to the tune of N33.3 billion.
Adariku, the first prosecution witness, said that the transfers were made through the accounts of the company owned by Baba-Kusa.
The witness, led in evidence by EFCC’s counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), narrated how between April and May 2015, N280.4 million was transferred to various individuals from the firm’s accounts in Zenith, Diamond, Ecobank, among others.
The witness said that Baba-Kusa authorised the payment of N24 million from UBA on April 22, to Integral Shipping Big Ltd; and N10.7million from First Bank on April 27, to Fastman Nig. Ltd.
Adariku further said that on April 28, N1million was transferred to David Ozige and Associate, and N10 million in five tranches transferred to Squad Develop Ltd; while N8.1million was transferred to Ibrahim Uba on April 24.
He said that on May 5 there was a transfer of N80 million to Medical Plastics Ltd, a company in which Baba- Kusa’ wife has N1.8 million shares.
Baba-Kusa’s counsel, Solomon Umoh, however told the court that the document containing the transfers was not with him.
Other counsels in the matter aligned themselves with Umoh’s submission.
The prosecuting counsel promised to give all the counsels in the matter the document to ensure smooth trial.
The judge, Justice Hussein Baba Yusuf, adjourned the matter until July 5, for continuation of trial.
Meanwhile, another Federal High Court judge in Abuja,, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu has ordered that Dasuki be released on bail in the sum of N200 million and two sureties in the like sum. The court said that one of the sureties must be a federal government employee with not less than grade level 16 who must submit to the court his letter of appointment and the last letter of his promotion to pave way for the release of Dasuki.
In the event of a private person standing as the surety, the court held that the person must have landed property in Abuja and must submit before the court original of the property and must also swear to the affidavit of means.
Besides, Justice Ojukwu said the surety must deposit N100 million with the registrar of the court and that the money would be returned to the surety at the end of the trial of the former NSA.
Justice Ijeoma also ordered that the surety must submit to the court his recent passport photograph and that his residential address must be varied by the official of the court as part of the bail condition.
In the judgment that lasted over one hour, Justice Ojukwu lambasted the Federal Government for unjustly arresting and detaining a Nigerian citizen for over two years without any justification contrary to the provision of the law.
The court dismissed the claim of the security agency that Dasuki was being held in protective custody on the strength of the alleged arm and ammunition found in his house. Justice Ijeoma held that although Dasuki in the instance case had been charged to various courts on the issue, the law however presumed that the former NSA is innocent of the charges against him until the contrary is proved beyond reasonable doubt.
The judge agreed with counsel to Dasuki, Ahmed Raji that Dasuki never shuns any invitation for interrogation by any of the security agencies adding that from the affidavit evidence of the former NSA, it was cleared that he had been detained since December 2015 without any investigation or interrogation.
The judge also dismissed the claims of the Federal Government that Dasuki was being held on fresh allegations of money laundering, adding that such claims should go to the graveyard because it cannot be used to justify the detention of any Nigerian for as long as over two years without being charged to court on any fresh allegation.
On another claim by the Federal Government that Dasuki was abusing court process by filing multiple cases in court, Justice Ijeoma dismissed the claim for being baseless and frivolous adding that in the instance case parties are different from the previous one and as such the issue of forum-shopping cannot be used against Dasuki.
In the event of any plan to investigate Dasuki, Justice Ojukwu ordered that such investigation must be conducted during working days and that the former NSA must not be detained for whatever reason and also ordered that his travelling passport should remain with the court.
The former NSA had dragged the Federal Government and its agencies before for the enforcement of his fundamental right to liberty claiming that he had been unlawfully detained since December 2015 without being charged top court.
The former NSA demanded the sum of N5 billion as exemplary damages for the breach of his fundamental right and the detention without trial for over two years.
Although Justice Ojukwu agreed that the former NSA was illegally, unlawfully and unconstitutionally detained, she, however, did not award any damage against the Federal Government.