A former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (Retd), who is standing trial for corruption under the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, has asked the Court of Appeal in Abuja, to quash his indictment contained in the February 25, 2020, judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which convicted a former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olisa Metuh, on money laundering charges,
Dasuki urged the court not to only set aside the findings, which he said were repeated about 10 times against him in the judgement, but to also set aside the entire proceedings, which according to him, were conducted in breach of established procedures.
Although, he was not a Defendant in Metuh’s trial, Dasuki in his appeal, contended that his “conviction” in the judgement without being given the opportunity to defend himself, was a breach of his fundamental rights to a fair hearing.
He argued in his Appellant brief filed by his Lead Counsel, Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN), “that the magnitude of the breach of the right to fair hearing, has rendered the entirety of the proceedings worthless and non-existent, having not been tried under or through the lawful or appropriate procedure”.
“Bearing in mind the fundamental nature of the trial court’s error, especially in a criminal case, we humbly urge this honourable court not to only set aside all the findings of the trial court, but to declare the entire proceedings a nullity, for lack of fair hearing and jurisdiction”, Daudu stated on Dasuki’s behalf.
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, had convicted and sentenced Metuh to 7 years imprisonment, for money laundering involving the alleged fraudulent receipt, concealment, and unlawful use of the N400 million, paid to him and his firm, Destra Investments Limited, by Dasuki, as the NSA, in November 2014.
The Judge also convicted Metuh and his firm, for transacting with a sum of cash of $2 million, without going through a financial institution, as alleged in the case filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in January 2016.
Justice Abang ruled that the transfer of the N400 million to Destra Investment’s bank account, on November 24, 2015, was unlawfully done “in breach of public trust” by Dasuki, adding that, Metuh and his firm reasonably ought to have known that the money formed part of the proceeds of the unlawful activity of the former NSA.
He had added that Dasuki, who is still being prosecuted for the primary offences of “breach of trust” and “corruption” at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, in Abuja, needed not to be first convicted, before Metuh and his firm could be charged with money laundering, or convicted.
However, in his appeal against the judgement, Dasuki’s Lawyer stated that, “there are at least 10 findings made by the trial court holding the Appellant, Col. Dasuki, guilty of the predicate offence here, of corruption and criminal breach of trust”.
Daudu believes “that the denial of the right to a fair hearing on the Appellant in the instant case must be condemned, and the entire proceedings of the court which culminated in the said penal findings and conclusions, be set aside”.
He said that the judgement “is indicative of a descent into the arena by the Learned Trial Judge, especially as it became apparent that the Learned Trial Judge had evinced a desire to convict the Appellant (Dasuki) and the 2nd and 3rd Respondents (Metuh and his firm) at all cost”.
However, the EFCC, through its Lawyer, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, urged the court to dismiss the appeal, for lacking in merit.
He argued that Dasuki, not being a party to the trial at the Federal High Court, had no right to appeal against the judgment.
He also maintained that contrary to the former NSA’s claim, the judgement did not convict him.
Tahir stated: “The 1st Respondent (EFCC) urges your Lordship to dismiss the Appellant’s appeal as lacking in merit, because he was not tried, convicted, and sentenced by the Lower Court on the offences for which the 2nd and 3rd Respondents (Metuh and his firm) stood trial.
“Not having been prosecuted and convicted as an accused person, there was no denial of any right to a fair hearing of the Appellant. The Appellant’s appeal is purely academic and tantamount to waste of valuable judicial time.”
Meanwhile, a 3-man Panel of the Court of Appeal, led by Justice Stephen Adah, had on September 22, 2020, heard Dasuki’s appeal, together with the separate appeals filed by Metuh and his firm.
The court reserved judgement, the date of which is to be communicated to the Lawyers in the case, whenever it is ready for delivery.
More news later…