The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday arraigned a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki; a former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda; a former Sokoto State Governor, Attahiru Bafarawa; Mr. Bafarawa’s son, Sagir; and two others on fresh charges bordering on money laundering and criminal breach of trust.
The EFFC has accused the six of diversions, misappropriation and breach of public trust in respect of N19.4billion.
They were arraigned on 22-count charge before Justice Peter Affem of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High court.
When the charges were read to them, all the accused persons denied the charges one after the other.
Counsel to the Nigerian government, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, requested an adjournment of the trial till next year to enable him assemble his witnesses.
However, Counsel to Mr. Dasuki, Ahmed Raji, SAN, raised the issue of bail for the accused persons adding that motions for their bail had been filed and served on the prosecution.
The prosecution lawyer, Mr. Jacobs confirmed that he was served the applications for bail of all the accused persons.
He also ordered the accused persons kept in the custody of the EFCC until their bail is decided on Thursday.
Meanwhile in another FCT High Court, Justice Sani Yusuf adjourned bail ruling till Friday.
Mr. Dasuki, who was arraigned before Justice Yusuf, alongside a former director of finance at the office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu, and a former Group General Manager of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Aminu Kura, and two firms, Acacia Holdings Limited and Reliance Reference Hospital, had on Monday filed for bail after pleading not guilty to the 19-count charge bordering on money laundering and criminal breach of trust.
After over two hours of arguments and counter-arguments from counsel to both parties, Mr. Yusuf adjourned bail ruling to Friday. Mr. Dasuki will remain in EFCC custody.
A day ealier:
Mr. Dasuki with family members among others was on Monday arraigned before an Abuja High Court on a 19-count charge of money laundering and breach of public trust.
Those charged alongside Mr. Dasuki were a former director of finance at the office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu, as well as an aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Waripamowei Dudafa.
A former general manager at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Aminu BabaKusa, and two firms, Acacia Holdings Limited and Reliance Referral Hospital Abuja, were also charged.
The first charge accused Messrs. Dasuki, Salisu and Dudafa (said to be at large) of withdrawing N10 billion in foreign currency equivalent from the account of the NSA with the CBN on November 27, 2014.
The charge says Mr. Dasuki claimed to have distributed the money to PDP presidential primary election delegates – an act the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said was punishable under section 315 of the penal code Act, Cap 532, Vol. 4 laws of the federation 2004.
Another count says Messrs. Dasuki and Salisu withdrew N2.120 billion from the NSA account with CBN, between January 22 and March 19 and paid same to the account of Daar Investment and Holding Company Limited controlled by Raymond Dokpesi, for the funding of the media activities for the 2015 presidential election campaign of the PDP.
Messrs. Dasuki and Salisu were also accused of criminal breach of trust by withdrawing N90 Million from the NSA’s account with Diamond Bank Plc and remitting the said amount into the account of “Brains and Hammers Limited for the purchase of 7-bedroom duplex house at No. 11 Mansur Bamalli Drive (D1064), Apo 1, Abuja in the name of Abubakar Atiku Dasuki, the son of Mr. Dasuki”.
The Nigerian government is also accusing Messrs. Dasuki and Salisu of illegally transferring N1.5 billion of Nigerian money held at Zenith Bank between October 9, 2014 and April 17 2015, to Acacia Holdings limited “controlled by one Aminu Babakusa purporting same to be payment for organizing prayers”.
The duo were also said to have on April 17, 2015 transferred N750 Million from the NSA account with Zenith bank to the account of Reliance Reference Hospital also controlled by Mr. Babakusa for organizing prayers.
In a separate charge, Acacia Holdings and its owner, Mr. Babakusa, were accused of collecting N1.45 billion from the account of the NSA with Zenith Bank, into their accounts with UBA and Ecobank, between October 9, 2014 and April 17, 2015, from Messr. Dasuki and Salisu for organizing prayers, knowing that the money “directly represented proceeds of criminal conducts and knowing same to be stolen property”.
Mr. Babakusa and Reliance Hospital were also accused of collecting N750 million from Mr. Dasuki on April 17, 2015 “which sum belonged to the Federal Government of Nigeria and knowing the said sum to be stolen property but purporting same to be payment for organizing prayers and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 317 of the penal code Act, Cap 532, Vol. 4 laws of the federation 2004”.
The government also said that on April 9, 2015, Messrs. Dasuki and Salisu transferred N380 million in the account of the NSA with CBN to the account of Belsha Nigeria Limited for “consultancy services”.
Messrs. Dasuki and Salisu were also accused of transferring, on 12th August 2014 and 23rd March, 2015, from the NSA account with CBN, the sum of N670 Million to the account of General hydrocarbons Limited with Guarantee Trust Bank, GTB, controlled by Nduka Obaigbena as payment for “energy consulting”.
Mr. Obaigbena is the publisher of ThisDay newspaper.
The two former government officials are also accused of transferring N260 million from the NSA account with Skye Bank to the account of a former chairman of the Board of Trustee of the PDP, Tony Anenih, with First Bank of Nigeria Plc.
Messrs. Dasuki and Salisu are also accused of criminal breach of trust when they allegedly transferred N345 million from the CBN account of the NSA to the account of Starbrid Limited with Stanbic IBTC Bank and GTB controlled by Emmanuel Lawani on behalf of Iyorchia Ayu, for the construction of a shopping mall at Jabi, Abuja, “purporting same to be payment for satellite charges and security equipment” thereby committing an offence punishable under section 315 of the penal code Act, Cap 532, Vol. 4 laws of the federation 2004.
In all, the EFCC said it was accusing Messrs. Dasuki and Salisu of conspiring to do an illegal act through criminal breach of trust by public officers between October 2014 and April 2015 by distributing N13.570 billion belonging to the Federal Government to politicians and cronies.
The EFCC said the offense committed by the duo is punishable under section 97 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532, Vol, 4 LFN 2004.
The anti-graft agency also said by “dishonestly receiving stolen property” belonging to the Nigerian government, totalling N2.2 billion, Acacia Holdings Limited, Reliance Reference Hospital and Aminu Babakusa have committed an offence punishable under section 97 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532, Vol, 4 LFN 2004.