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The federal government on Monday at the Federal High Court in Abuja filed fresh charges of money laundering against the former National Security Adviser, NSA, Mohammed Sambo Dasuki, a retired Colonel.
To the amazement of the trial judge, Justice Ademola Adeniyi, who had fixed October 26 and 27 for commencement of trial, the prosecution counsel, Shuaib Labaran, at the resumed hearing submitted fresh charge against Dasuki.
Not only that, Labaran, appealed to the court to allow the trial to be conducted in secret and demanded the masking of the witnesses brought by the Department of State Services, DSS. He also asked that only a limited number of accredited journalist be allowed to cover the secret trial.
The prosecution accused the former NSA of illegal possession of various amounts of local and foreign currency found in his homes in Abuja and Sokoto, contrary to Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.
However, the defence counsel, Joseph Daudu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, vehemently opposed the application on the grounds that the case is a harmless one within a democratic setting that does not warrant secret trial.
“We consider the trial as harmless to the witnesses. If you make the witnesses anonymous then we may lack the ability to conduct background checks. Even trial of treasonable felony and coup d’tat the witnesses are not hidden and we are in a democracy,” Daudu argued.
The counsel also appealed to the judge to release Dasuki’s travel documents to enable him go abroad for medical attention, saying that he had been billed to make the trip before his arrest.
However, the prosecutor asked the court for an adjournment to enable him respond to Dauda’s motion for the release of Dasuki’s travel documents.
Upon hearing the arguments of both counsels, the presiding Judge fixed Wednesday, October 28 for ruling on the prosecution’s motion for a secret trial and defence counsel’s motion for the release of the accused persons travel papers.
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