Court Disqualifies Witness Against Dasuki

A prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), was disqualified and ordered to step out of the witness box, Friday.
The order came when counsel to Dasuki, Joseph Daudu, drew the attention of Justice Baba Yusuf of an FCT High Court, to the fact that the witness’ name was not on the list of witnesses of the prosecution team.
He opposed the inclusion of the EFCC operative as a witness on the ground that his name was not listed on the witnesses list as demanded by Section 397 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
He insisted that it was the requirement that all witnesses in a criminal matter must be listed and that the list of the witnesses must be served on the defendants.
Daudu submitted that the defendants were disadvantaged because they were not aware of the witness and his background upon which they could effectively cross-examine him.
He urged the court to disallow the witness from giving evidence.
Responding, Rotimi Jacobs, the prosecuting counsel, urged the court to discountenance the objection, adding that the said witness had started giving evidence since January.
Jacob insisted that it was too late in the day for the defendants to object or to seek disqualification of a person who had already started giving evidence simply because the name of the person did not appear in the witness list.
He said that the statements of this witness had been included since 2015 and served on the defendants without any objections.
Other defence lawyers in the matter aligned themselves with the position of Daudu that it was a trite law that anybody wishing to testify in a criminal matter must be listed in the witness list.
Justice Yusuf after listening to all parties agreed with Daudu that all witnesses billed to testify against his client must be listed in the witness list and that a copy of the list must be made available to him in line with provisions of the law and in the interest of justice and fair play.
The Judge ordered the EFCC operative who was already in the witness box to step-down.
Consequently, the court adjourned the matter till May 16, 17, 18, 2017 in agreement with lawyers involved in the matter.
Dasuki, a former National Security Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan, was arraigned on a 19-count charge bordering on alleged diversion of N13.6bn.
He is being tried alongside Shuaibu Salisu, a former Director of Finance, Office of the NSA, and Aminu Baba-Kusa, a former NNPC Executive Director and two others.

Author: News Editor

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