Court Orders Trial of Dasuki in Absentia

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday ordered the trial of the fornlmer National Security Adviser (NSA), Col Sambo Dasuki (retd) to be conducted in his absence following his resolve not to attend any proceeding for the trial.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed issued the order while delivering ruling in an affidavit filed by the Federal Government in which the court was prayed to order the trial of the ex-NSA in absentia and in the alternative that the court should compel his appearance in court.
In the affidavit deposed to by one Abimbola Akintola, a legal practitioner, the Federal Government, through its counsel, Dipo Okpeseyi (SAN) , the prosecution claimed that Dasuki’s trial in absentia has become imperative because of his letter to the court that he will no longer attend trial in protest against government’s disobedience to judgments that ordered his release from his unlawful detention.
Okpeseyi, in the affidavit attached to Dasuki’s letter dated November 12, 2018, submitted to the court through its registrar to the effect that he will no longer attend trial in the charges of unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering brought against him by government.
The senior counsel argued that Dasuki’s grouse arose from matters that are not connected to his prosecution in the instant charge.
He further informed the court the affidavit was filed in compliance with the court’s ruling of April 10 to the effect that government must file affidavit evidence whenever the ex-NSA chooses not to appear in court for his trial, adding that Dasuki’s absence in court Monday was a challenge to court order and that the challenge must not be taken lightly with him.
However, counsel to Dasuki, Victor Okwudiri opposed the affidavit on the ground that it was not competent in the eyes of the law for the court to decide.
Specifically, Dasuki’s counsel argued that the affidavit breached rule 10(1)(2) and (3) because of the failure of the legal practitioner to affix his seal as required by law.
He therefore prayed the court not to attach probate value to the affidavit and in the alternative, to adjourn the matter for him to show the affidavit to Dasuki for his reaction in the interest of fair hearing.
However in his ruling, Justice Mohammed upheld the affidavit on the ground that its content were facts from the letter of Dasuki and that the deponent is just a lawyer in the law firm of Okpeseyi.
Justice Mohammed invoked Section 352 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) to order Dasuki’s trial in absentia on the strength of his own declaration not to attend trial again and the fact that he has not attended the court four times in the previous four adjournments.
Meanwhile, further trial has been adjoured till December 11.
The former NSA had on November 13 informed the Court of his decision not to attend court proceedings again, in protest against the refusal of the federal government to release him from the unlawful detention as ordered by several courts.

Author: News Editor

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