A prosecution witness, Williams Obiora, told the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday, that he was part of the legal team that carried out a search at the residence of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, in Asokoro, Abuja.
Mr Obiora is the first prosecution witness (PW1) presented in the trial of Mr Dasuki before Justice Ahmed Mohammed.
While being shielded from public glare in court in Wednesday, Mr Obiora, during cross-examination, also told the court that he was not part of the legal team that prepared the charges against Mr Dasuki.
The federal government is accusing Mr Dasuki of being in possession of prohibited firearms without the requisite licences in July 2015 contrary to Section 28 of the Firearm Act Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
He was alleged to have been in possession of Trevor rifles at his residence in Abuja.
Besides the firearms, Mr Dasuki is also accused of money-laundering and was specifically said to have been in possession of $40,000, N5 million and £20,000 allegedly in his house in July 2015.
The funds are said to be proceeds of an unlawful act contrary to Section 15 (3) of the money laundering prohibition act 2011.
An amended charge also indicated that $150,000 and N37 million, being part of proceeds of the unlawful act, were also found in the Sokoto residence of former NSA on July 16, 2015.
Responding to question from Mr Dasuki’s lawyer, Ahmed Raji, the witness said, “I have worked for 30 years in DSS. I worked briefly with a private company after my national youth service year in 1986 before joining DSS.”
Mr Raji further asked Mr Obiora if he was still in service and he replied saying, “I retired in 2018.“
The witness told the court that the private company where he worked before joining the DSS did not deal in arms and ammunition.
When asked if he had worked in the office of NSA before, Mr Obiora responded: “Not at all, I have never worked in the office of NSA.”
He also told the court that he had never worked as an officer in other security agencies.
Mr Raji asked the witness if he knew the details about the law setting up NSA’s office, Mr Obiora said though he was aware that the office was established by law, he did not know details about the law.
The witness, however, said he was aware that NSA’s office “coordinates all security agencies in the country, including the DSS.”
When the senior lawyer asked him if he knew anything about the term: “End User Certificate,” he responded in affirmation.
“I know what End User Certificate is. It is usually sought and obtained from the office of the NSA when materials of security nature are to be brought within the country.
“So we need the approval of the NSA and that is where an End User Certificate comes in,” he explained.
However, when Mr Dasuki’s lawyer asked him to confirm if the exporters would not sell any security equipment without an End User Certificate, the witness said: “Ideally, that is what is supposed to be but this is Nigeria, anything can happen.”
“Will I be right to say that even the DSS cannot import arms without an End User Certificate?” Mr Raji asked.
“I wouldn’t no that,” Mr Obiora responded.
“Can (the) army import without an End User Certificate?” Mr Raji asked again.
“I wouldn’t know,” Mr Obiora restated.
When asked if he had ever seen an End User Certificate before, the witness said: “No.”
The witness explained that he knew about the term “through reading”.
“I read it from books. I cannot remember any of the books,” he told the court.
Mr Obiora, who said he worked under the operations department when in service, said he was not aware “inspection team normally goes to the country of production whenever arms and ammunition are to be procured to ascertain the equipment to be bought.”
“Those who are normally sent are those who are ‘vast’ in ballistics?” Mr Raji asked.
“I am not aware,” Mr Obiora responded.
“You have not been trained in ballistics,” again the lawyer asked.
“I have not,” Mr Obiora said.
Mr Raji then asked the witness if the former NSA personally told him that the arms and ammunition found in his houses belong(ed) to him ( Mr Dasuki).
“I cannot recall if the defendant told me that the arms and ammunition personally belonged to him,” Mr Obiora responded.
The witness told the court that he only took part in searching for the Asokoro residence of Mr Dasuki.
“Do you agree with me that the military, especially the army, has more to do with arms and ammunition than the DSS,” the lawyer asked.
“I don’t understand what you mean,” the witness responded.
Meanwhile, Mr Raji asked the court for an adjournment to enable him to obtain the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the statement of a witness in the previous proceedings before another court.
“My request for adjournment is as a result of issues arising from the statement,” he added.
Justice Mohammed granted the request and adjourned the matter to May 5 and 6 for the continuation of trial.
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