For 6th Time, Court Frees Dasuki, Says Detention Illegal

By Admin on 03/07/2018

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For the sixth time since 2015, the court again on Monday declared the detention of Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), former National Security Adviser, by the Department of State Services (DSS) illegal.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, described the continuous detention of Dasuki by the DSS since December 29, 2015 “as an aberration to the rule of law”.

Consequently, the court ordered the release of Dasuki on bail in the sum of N200 million with two sureties in like sum.

The court stated that it was settled law that justifying the reasons for arrest and detention of any citizen rests on the arresting agency.

In view of the foregoing, Justice Ojukwu noted that from the affidavit depositions and written address of the DSS tendered before the court, the respondent had failed to justify why Dasuki was detained since 2015.

Ojukwu made the order on Monday in a judgement on a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by Dasuki against the DSS, wherein he challenged his detention by the Federal Government agency since December 29, 2015.

As part of the bail conditions, the court said the sureties must swear an affidavit of means and must not be less than level 16 in the public service.

Also, Ojukwu ordered that they must tender their letters of appointments.

However, where the sureties were private citizens, the court stated that they should be owners of landed properties in Garki, Asokoro, Gwarimpa, etc.

The court added that they must show evidence of tax payment for 2015, 2016, and 2017.

In addition, Ojukwu directed that either of the sureties or the applicant shall deposit the sum of N100 million as security into the account of the Federal High Court.

More so, in case the DSS wants to interview Dasuki, the court held that such interrogation must be from morning to evening of any day, and that he must not be detained.

The court further directed that Dasuki’s international passport, which is currently with the DSS, should be submitted to the chief registrar of the court.

Contrary to the argument of the AGF, the court held that the action instituted before her did not amount to forum shopping as the other suits mentioned by the AGF involved EFCC, a different party.

The court noted that the submission of Dasuki’s counsel that the instant fundamental rights enforcement suit was a fresh action, “was not debunked by the 1st and 2nd respondents”.

In addition, the court held that the allegation of money-laundering against the applicant as claimed by the respondents, “does not threaten national security”.

The judge added: “It is curious to note that the applicant has been in detention for almost three years.

“The 1st and 2nd respondents cannot hold somebody in custody under the guise of investigation.”

However, the court did not award any cost against the DSS.

Dasuki had, in the application filed by his counsel, Ahmed Raji, prayed the court for a declaration that he was entitled to his fundamental rights to human dignity as enshrined under section 35 of the constitution.

The applicant also sought for an order compelling the DSS to release him unconditionally.

He also prayed for a declaration that his detention since 2015 violated his fundamental rights and was, therefore, unconstitutional, illegal, etc.

Furthermore, Dasuki pleaded to the court for an order admitting him on bail in liberal terms as well as an order of injunction restraining the DSS from arresting, detaining, harassing, etc, him.

Dasuki equally demanded an order for the DSS to tender a public apology to him in two national dailies.

He also prayed for an order for the payment of N5m for general damages and as compensation for violation of his fundamental rights by the DSS.

Before the present judgment, five different courts had made valid orders granting Dasuki bail but the DSS had refused to release him.

In an affidavit in support of the motion on notice, the applicant averred that he was granted bail on August 24, 2014.

On 10 November, 2015, he was granted leave to travel abroad for medical treatment but the DSS, the affidavit stated, laid siege to his Maitama residence and restricted vehicular movement to and from the house, “thereby deliberately truncating a valid order”.

“The action of the DSS was deliberately aimed at compounding the deteriorating health of the applicant,” the affidavit stated.

On October 4, 2015, it was stated that the ECOWAS Court had declared Dasuki’s detention illegal and a violation of his fundamental rights; yet the order granting him bail was violated.

In opposing the motion, the DSS told the court that Dasuki was detained because he was under investigation for money laundering and that he was arrested on suspicion of stockpiling arms.

“The applicant is at the centre of several money laundering cases till date. He dishonestly shared $2.1 billion meant for procurement of arms, logistics, and security equipment to fight terrorism in the North-East to PDP members to execute the 2015 general election.”

Besides, the DSS claimed that “the magnitude of arms found in the house of the former NSA made him a security threat.”

Similarly, the AGF, arguing through Dayo Apata, the Solicitor General of the Federation, urged the court to dismiss the motion because it amounted to forum shopping.

The AGF insisted that litigants could not be allowed to indulge in forum shopping, adding that Dasuki, by the way he shared the money meant to fight against terrorism “compromised the fight against Boko Haram; there is no offence greater than an offence against national security.”

Dasuki was first granted bail on August 30, 2015, by Adeniyi Ademola, then presiding judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court.

Ademola granted Dasuki bail on self-recognition following no objections by Mohammed Diri, the prosecuting counsel.

On December 18, 2015, Hussein Baba Yusuf, justice of the FCT High Court granted Dasuki bail in the sum of N250 million bail alongside Salisu Shuaibu, a director of finance in the office of the NSA and one Aminu Kusa.

They were asked to provide a surety who owns a property in the FCT worth N250 million.

On January 24, 2017, Yusuf reaffirmed the bail on Dasuki on the grounds that he was entitled to it and having being admitted to same since 2015 when the Federal Government brought criminal charges against him.

Dasuki and five others were re-arraigned before Yusuf on criminal charges that were transferred from Peter Affen of the FCT High Court.

Ahmed Raji, counsel to Dasuki, applied to the court to reaffirm the bail granted to the ex-NSA even though he has not “been allowed to enjoy” same since December 2015.

Raji had argued that it was wrong of Rotimi Jacobs, prosecuting counsel, to have objected to the reaffirmation of the bail condition on Dasuki.

He added that Dasuki had in his possession, a judgment of the ECOWAS court which in 2016 set aside the unlawful detention of the ex-NSA.

Ahmed Mohammed, presiding judge of FCT High Court, on April 5, 2017, reaffirmed the 2015 bail granted Dasuki after hearing the ex-NSA’s appeal of the amended seven-count charge against him.

Mohammed said since the prosecution counsel, Oladipo Opeseyi, did not object to Dasuki’s appeal, the court had to affirm same.

Yusuf, on May 18, 2018, further reaffirmed the bail he granted Dasuki in 2015.

Dasuki was arraigned on 32 counts amended charges along with Aminu Kusa, Acacia Holdings Limited and Reliance Referral Hospital.

Adeola Adedekpe, counsel to Dasuki, pleaded with the court to grant the defendants bail in liberal terms in view of the fact that they have been attending their trial since 2015.

Yusuf ruled that they should continue to enjoy the bail he granted them in 2015 when they were first arraigned before his court.



Posted on July, 3 2018

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