The Federal government yesterday filed fresh charges of alleged money laundering against a former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki(rtd), who was arraigned in September on a single count charge of illegal possession of firearms.
The government also requested that the trial be conducted in secrecy by providing special cover for witnesses from using public routes; use of private witness room; and use of facial masks.
They are in addition to the illegal possession of firearms charge earlier brought against him at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja. Court documents showed that about $423,000 was seized at his homes following a search.
The retention and concealment of funds, which are allegedly “part of proceeds of an unlawful act”, are said to contravene Section 15(2) (a), (d) and (3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended).
In the fresh charges, the government alleged that $20,000; $40,000 and $150,000 (estimated at N42m, at N200 to $1 exchange rate) as well as N5m and N37.6m were recovered during searches on Dasuki’s residences in Abuja and Sokoto last July 16 and 17.
It stated that $40,000, N5m and $20,000 and some alleged illegally possessed firearms were recovered from Dasuki’s house at 13, John Khadiya Street, Asokoro, Abuja, on July 17.
The prosecution said $150,000 and N37.6m were recovered from his houses at Sultan Abubakar Road Sabon Birni Road, Sokoto, on July 16, 2015.
Col. Dasuki pleaded not guilty when the amended five-count charge was read to him yesterday, following which Justice Ademola Adeniy granted him bail in self-recognition.
To avert possible disclosure of state secrets and other classified security information, the government also opted for secret trial.
Prosecution lawyer Shauibu Labaran argued a motion urging the court to conduct the trial in secret, to among other reasons, protect the identity of state’s witnesses.
In the motion brought under Sections 36(4) of the Constitution and 232 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, the state wants an order directing that the names and addresses of all its witnesses be excluded from records or reports of proceedings that may be accessible to the public.
It also urged the court to keep the names and other identities of the witnesses secret from the public.
Apart from lawyers and accredited journalists, the state asked the court to exclude members of the public from the trial and, adding that the witnesses be permitted to wear facial masks while giving evidence.
Defence lawyer Joseph Daudu (SAN) opposed the prosecution’s motion, arguing that all information about the prosecution witnesses were Justice Ademola then adjourned the case to Wednesday, October 28, 2015 for ruling on prosecution’s request for secret trial and Dasuki’s request for his travel documents to be released to him.
Source: The Herald