The Federal Government has finally agreed to consolidate the criminal charges filed against a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and others before two different High Courts of the Federal Capital Territory judiciary.
This followed a complaint by the former NSA that putting him on trial in two different courts on the same issues would be prejudice and cause double jeopardy.
Recall that ECOWAS Court yesterday ordered the immediate release of Dasuki from detention.
At the resumption of the trial on Wednesday, counsel to the Federal Government, Mr. Rotimi Jacob and that of Dasuki, Mr. Joseph Daudu agreed before Justice Baba Yusuf to formally write the chief judge of the FCT judiciary, Justice Ishaq Bello to consolidate the two charges in the interest of justice.
The two senior counsels applied to Justice Yusuf to adjourn the matter pending the time the chief judge would consider the application for consolidation.
The judge, who was billed to give ruling on Dasuki’s motion for consolidation, put off the ruling as a result of understanding between the prosecution and the defence and adjourn the matter till October 21, 2016.
Dasuki has been put on trial before Justice Baba Yusuf and another charge was filed against him before Justice Peter Affem both of the FCT High Court on the same issue and subject.
However, Dasuki sensing danger in the abuse of judicial process applied that the two charges at the two high court be consolidated since they were on the same issues and alleged contravention of the same laws.
Dasuki who is standing trial on allegation of alleged misappropriation of fund along with four others before Justice Baba Yusuf had insisted that the charges against him by the complainant on the same issue constituted a gross abuse of court process.
In the motion brought pursuant to Section 6 and 36 of the 1999 Constitution and Section 1, 208, 396, 491 and 492 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, Dasuki had claimed that the two charges revolved around the same set of transaction and facts on the alleged funds misappropriation and the breach of trust.
He claimed that the two charges with NO FCT/HC/CR/43/2015 and another one with FCT/HC/CR/42/2015 pending before Justice Baba Yusuf of the High Court No 4 and Justice Peter Affen of High Court No 24 are identical charges emanating from the Office of the National Security Adviser and as such must be consolidated in the interest of justice and fair trial to avoid double jeopardy.
The applicant further claimed that to stand trial before two different courts and two different judges on the same set of facts and purported transaction of the office of the NSA will be prejudicial and great hardship against him as he stands the risk of double jeopady having being charged in two different courts on the issue.
In the alternative, Dasuki prayed that is name be struck out from one of the two charges in the interest of justice.
In 30 paragraph affidavit in support of the motion deposed to by Dolapo Kehinde, the Ex-NSA was said to be standing trial before Justice Baba Yusuf on a 19 count charge for criminal breach of trust pursuant to Section 97, 309, 315 and 317 of the Penal Code and for also dishonestly misappropriated of certain properties in breach of Section 17 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act 2014.
The deponent also averred that Dasuki and four others were also standing trial before Justice Peter Affen for similar offences on 22 count charge of criminal breach of trust contrary to Section 97, 309, 315 and 317 of Penal Code and dishonest misappropriation of certain properties contrary to Section 17 of EFCC Act 2014.
He further averred that the pivotal issue whereupon the two charges revolve is the purported $2.1bn alleged to have been misappropriated by the ex-NSA.
The affidavit indicated that there was no distinction between the alleged transactions which led to the filing of both charges, and therefore it is an abuse of the court for the two charges to have been filed separately.