$2.1bn arms probe: Allow me defend myself, Dasuki tells FG

Former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), yesterday, accused the Federal Government of deliberately denying him the opportunity to prepare his defence to all the criminal charges preferred against him before three different courts. Dasuki Sambo Dasuki, who made the allegation at the resumed hearing on the 22-count charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, entered against him before an Abuja High Court sitting in Maitama, bemoaned the fact that he had been constantly denied access to his lawyers. He told the court that operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, had since December 29, 2015, when he was re-arrested,
refused to allow him access to his legal representatives. Consequently, the former NSA, through his lawyer, Mr. Ahmed Raji, SAN, urged trial Justice Peter Affen to compel the Federal Government to grant him the necessary facilities to prepare his defence to the charge pending against him before the court. The charge borders on his alleged involvement in the illegal diversion of N19 billion meant for the procurement of arms.   Needs  20 sessions with lawyers Dasuki insisted that he would need at least 20 interactive and instructive sessions with his lawyers on record or any counsel of his choice in the preparation of his defence to the charge. In a motion dated April 19, the defendant prayed the court to compel the Federal Government to allow him meet his lawyers between Mondays and Fridays during working hours. He begged the court to order that the meetings be held at the chambers of his lead counsel, Mr. J. B. Daudu, SAN, in Abuja, pending hearing and determination of his appeal seeking an order staying further proceeding on the matter. Dasuki equally prayed the court to order the Federal Government to allow him to properly study the charge and the accompanying proof of evidence. The embattled erstwhile NSA predicated his application on five grounds, among which was the fact that the court had earlier ordered his release on bail. The motion was anchored on Section 36 (b) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. In a 13-paragraphed affidavit attached in support of the motion and sworn to by one Ahmed Usman, the defendant drew attention of the court to the fact that it granted him bail on December 21, 2015. Dasuki said he was illegally re-arrested by DSS operatives without any court order shortly after he perfected all the bail conditions. Meanwhile, EFCC lawyer, Mr. Olaoluwa Atelagbe, applied for time to enable him to respond to the motion, even as Justice Affen subsequently adjourned the matter tillMay 25  for hearing. Besides, Dasuki, applied for leave to enable him travel to Dubai for medical check-up. The court adjourned hearing on the application till today.



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