Fed Govt opposes Dasuki’s request for foreign trip ….. NATION

DASUKI

•DPP plans fresh money
laundering charges against NSA

THE Federal Government yesterday urged a Federal High Court in Abuja not to accede to the request by former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki for the release of his travel documents to enable him travel abroad.

Dasuki, a retired colonel, is on trial for alleged money laundering and illegal arms possession.

Director of Public Prosecutions Muhammad Diri told the court that granting Dasuki’s prayer was injurious to the prosecution, which is planning to bring additional money laundering charges against Dasuki.

Diri opposed Dasuki’s application for the release of his passport to enable him travel to the United Kingdom on health grounds.

“The defendant is also being investigated in respect of other offences of money laundering by the security department.

“On this point, I refer your Lordship to paragraph 4 of our counter-affidavit showing that the defendant is also being investigated for other money laundering offences,” Diri said.

Dasuki is on trial on a five-count of illegal possession of firearms and money laundering involving about N84.6 million.

Dasuki’s lawyer Joseph Daudu (SAN) argued that the “speculative possibility that more charges will be filed against the defendant” could not be the basis for denying his client the opportunity to seek treatment abroad.

“They (the prosecution) are saying that his travelling out may interfere with the proposed charges,” Daudu said.

Daudu, while relying on sections 36(5) and 36(6) of the Constitution and Section 173(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, urged the court to consider the decision of the Court of Appeal in a similar application by former Delta State Governor James Ibori and grant his client’s application.

He said the application was informed by the need for his client to keep an earlier appointment with a UK hospital, in view of his “deteriorating health conditions”.

The lawyer contended that the prosecution’s claim that the treatment for which Dasuki was seeking permission to travel abroad was available in Nigeria could not sway the court to reject his application.

“That is not the grounds, with greatest respect, for the court to refuse the application,” Daudu said.

He said the prosecution’s view about the seizure of the defendant’s passport as being punitive was erroneous.

Daudu prayed the court to grant his client’s request.

He added that a defendant was presumed innocent and was still entitled to right to free movement until proved guilty.

In his reply, Diri said Dasuki’s case was different from Ibori’s, which Daudu relied on.

The DPP noted that in Ibori’s case, other conditions were attached to the bail granted the ex-governor, as against the case with Dasuki, where the confiscation of his travel documents by the court was the only bail condition.

He contended that acceding to Dasuki’s request to travel abroad for three weeks would delay the trial, noting that the ailment for which Dasuki seeks foreign treatment could be handled at the National Hospital, Abuja.

But neither Diri nor Daudu disclosed the ailment for which Dasuki seeks foreign treatment.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola adjourned to today for ruling on the application.

The judge may also deliver ruling on the prosecution’s application for the trial to be conducted outside the public view.