Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday, November 16, 2018 ruled in favour EFCC to proceed with the prosecution of Aliyu Usman, aide to the ex- National Security Adviser, ONSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) for graft allegations levelled against him.
Prior to today’s sitting, EFCC’s counsel, Offem I. Uket, was granted the application on the motion on notice dated September, 2017 hence amending the initial four count charge, in a bid to drop the second, third and fourth defendants in the matter. Offem thereafter hinted that the second defendant was dropped and will be used as a witness during the course of the trial.
The defence counsel, Mohammed Monguno, had filed a primary objection to the four count charge challenging the justification of the case on grounds that there is no evidence linking the defendant to the alleged money laundering charges.
Tsoho while deliveing his ruling on the primary objection, dismissed the application as he said that the Defence Counsel on March 28, 2018 filed for a motion for primary objection on three terms.
The terms are: Breach of due process due to amended charges; Incompetence of the investigations of the EFCC and No evidence to form a nexus between the accused and the transactions on the alleged United Bank for Africa, UBA plc to make a case for money laundering.
His words: “After perusal of the written address filed by the defence, every person who is charged to court on criminal allegations shall be informed in full details of the offence and also clear understanding of the charges in accordance to Section 6C of the ACJA.
“The respondent has provided substantial evidence in support of the case and has fully furnished the court with the proof of evidence obligatory for a court of law in order to embark on the trial in references to the statements of Usman Aliyu alongside his cousin, Nuru Yahaya whilst in custody of the respondent.
“The proof of evidence clearly shows that the defendant is linked to a crime taking note of the details of the bank transactions as contained in the evidence and also stated in the statements obtained by EFCC during investigations therefore, I dismiss the application for primary objective as this authenticity of this case has been established ”, Tsoho ruled.
Consequently, Monguno prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him explain the ruling to his client and prepare to come back for commencement of trial.
He further said that “the defendant’s international passport has expired as EFCC failed to oblige to the court order dated April 2018 for release of the defendant’s passport and appealed to the court to give appropriate directives for the release of the said passport which is due for renewal as this was a constitutional right given to any citizen of the country”.
In his response, Uket said the release of the defendant’s passport was not previously honoured as the defendants currently have four different graft cases ongoing in court and feared that the defendant may jump bail if the international passport is released to him.
Tsoho while adjourning the case to February 12, 2019 for continuation of trial said that EFCC should release the defendant’s passport within a fortnight’s time and reduced the terms of the previous bond from N150million to N50million.