The Federal Government yesterday increased to 32 from 19, the counts in a money laundering charge filed against a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and four others before an Abuja High Court.
In the amended charge, the Federal Government alleged that the National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus; former Chairman Board of Trustee PDP, Chief Tony Anenih; former PDP Spokesperson, Chief Olisa Metuh; Publisher of Thisday, Nduka Obaigbena, Senator Iyorchia Ayu; Chairman of AIT, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Mouftah Baba-Ahmed, Bello Abba Mohammed, Dr. Bello Mohammed, AVM M. N Umar and Otunba Jonah Ogunniyi are among the beneficiaries of the said money.
Apart from individuals, corporate organisations were also named as beneficiaries in the new charge and they include AMP Solar Service, Afro-Arab Investment, Bam Project and Projectiles Limited, Bob Oshodin Organisation Limited, Wehsac Farms Limited, Wehsac Limited, Dimaris Mode Coolture Limited, First Aralac Global Limited, Stellavera Development Limited, Jawaz Multi-purpose Venture Limited, Little Italy Global Services Limited, Belsha Nigeria Ltd and Syvan McNamara Limited, among others.
The Federal Government had first arraigned Dasuki, alongside a former Director of Finance and Administration, Office of National Security Adviser, Shuaibu Salisu; former General Manager, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Aminu Baba-Kusa, and two firms- Acacia Holdings and Reliance Referral Hospital in November, 2015 on a 19-count, bordering on breach of trust and money laundering to the tune of N13.5billion.
In the new charge, the Federal Government dropped the name Salisu Shuaib, who was a former Director of Finance and Supply in the ONSA under Dasuki.
At the resumed trial yesterday, Prosecuting Counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, informed the court that they have amended the charge against the defendants from 19 to 32.
He added that the amendment charges excluded the second defendant, Shuaibu Salisu, and urged the court to accept the amendment and also asked for a date for re-arraignment.
Responding, Dasuki’s counsel, Ahmed Raji, (SAN) informed the court that they were served on April 30, and it was only on May 1, that it was brought to his notice.
“I have no privilege of discussing with the first defendant and the counts are almost doubled. Consequently, we will be asking for an adjournment.’’
Counsel to Baba Kusa, Solomon Umoh, SAN, and other counsel in the matter, aligned with Raji for adjournment.
The trial judge, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf, accepted the prosecution’s amendment and adjourned till May 17 for re-arraignment.
The Federal Government did not, however, give any reason why the former Director of Finance in ONSA, who served along with Dasuki, was dropped from the trial having been arraigned together since 2015.
However, lead counsel to Dasuki, Raji, said that he did not know the deal Shuaib had with the Federal Government and EFCC that could have warranted the dropping of his name from the charge.
Raji, however, said that subsequent event in the trial would reveal to the defendants and their counsel all the circumstances leading to the dropping of the core accused, adding that “till then, we will keep our fingers crossed.”
Dasuki and the other four defendants were first arraigned in 2015 and pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.
They were subsequently admitted to bail.
Dasuki was later re-arrested after perfecting the bail conditions on December 29, 2015, and had been in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS till date. (New Telegraph)