A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on Wednesday dismissed an application by counsel to former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, requesting that documents tendered in court be rejected.
The court also warned the defence to desist from attempts aimed at prolonging the case.
Two cases involving Mr. Dasuki and filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had in a recent ruling been brought under one judge, following a request by the defence counsel.
In the first case, Mr. Dasuki (first defendant), alongside Shuaibu Salisu; Aminu Babakusa, a former General Manager, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; Acacia Holdings Limited; and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited are being prosecuted by the EFCC on a 19-count charge of money laundering and criminal breach of trust to the tune of N13.57 billion.
In the second case, Mr. Dasuki, Mr. Babakusa and Mr. Salisu, among others, are facing a 22-count charge for alleged diversion of N32 billion.
Although both charges were brought under the same judge, in response to a request by the defence, they are still treated separately.
The case had resumed on Tuesday after a fresh arraignment, following the transfer of one of the matters to its new judge, Hussein Baba-Yusuf.
After the arraignment of the accused, the judge adjourned for a continuation of the case on Wednesday.
At the hearing on Wednesday, Mr. Dasuki’s lawyers began a fresh appeal for the consolidation of both charges.
Their request prompted a stern warning by the judge who asked that counsel should not attempt to render his appearance in court fruitless.
“Since the witness us in court. I think it is better to allow this case to begin. The essence of coming here is to allow the business of the day to be executed,” said Mr. Baba-Yusuf, adding that he would not allow a situation where he would be seen as doing nothing, despite appearance in court.
Subsequently, a witness was called by the prosecution, Michael Adariku, to testify against the defendant.
Mr. Adariku said, during his examination by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, that his office received documents from banks used by Acacia holdings limited which indicated that funds were transferred from the office of the State Security Service, SSS, to Acacia holdings.
Mr. Adariku added that EFCC’s investigation into the said documents revealed that major shares in Acacia holdings belonged to Aminu Babakusa (the third defendant).
“When we received information, we moved swiftly into action and wrote the Central Bank of Nigeria to confirm the alleged movement of funds on September 21, 2015.
“On September 22, we received the response from the Central Bank. Analysis of the documents revealed the transfer of funds to various companies, including Acacia holdings; N600,000 was transferred to Acacia’s bank account maintained with the United Bank for Africa, UBA; while N650,000 was transferred to Ecobank account and N750,000 was transferred from the ONSA to a hospital, Referral alliance”.
After the documents containing the findings by the EFCC were identified by the witness, the defence counsel objected to its admissibility saying the documents were not certified and therefore did not confirm to the provisions of Section 84 of the Evidence Act.
The defence lawyers unanimously argued that the documents from the various banks, as well as those from the Central Bank and the Corporate Affairs Commission all came in computerised forms without proper certifications.
Responding to their arguments, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, said the documents from the Central Bank had been certified by the Registrar General of the Federation. He also said the other computerised documents were obtained with due consideration to the provisions of Section 84 of the Evidence Act.
Subsequently, the trial judge, Hussein Baba-Yusuf, admitted the documents in evidence.
The case was adjourned till March 16 and 17 for further hearing.