Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of the Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, thursday struck out an application by a former Sokoto State Governor, Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, his son, Sagir Attahiru and their family company, Dalhatu Investment Limited, seeking to separate their trial from that of former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), in the criminal charge of diverting $2.1bn meant for the purchase of arms to fight Boko Haram insurgents.
The applicants complained that the “continuous unnecessary delay” of their trial along with Dasuki is negatively affecting their family business and detrimental to their advantage.
Bafarawa’s counsel, Kayode Olatoke (SAN) told the court that, the former governor and his son wish to be separately tried.
According to him, the applicants’ trial if separated from Dasuki’s would guarantee their constitutional rights to a speedy trial within reasonable time in line with Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution.
In a 15 paragraph affidavit in support of the motion, the three applicants claimed that “since the trial began in 2015, no reasonable progress had been made because other parties had brought different motion to the court to challenge jurisdiction and to have the charges quashed.”
However, counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), told the court that “Bafarawa, his son and their family company, Dalhatu Investment Limited, were properly joined with Dasuki, Bashiru Yuguda and Shuaibu Salisu for their joint roles in the diversion of $2.1billion arms funds”
Jacobs informed the court that Dalhatu investment owned by Bafarawa and his son was the receiver of the alleged stolen fund into its UBA account, noting that once their charges with Dasuki are separated, it would be practically and legally impossible to prove the case of conspiracy.
The learned silk further argued that separation of the trial as canvassed by the applicants would further delay the speedy trial of the joint charge stressing that the prosecution was fully prepared to prove the case against the defendants within a reasonable time.
Dasuki who was represented in court by Adeola Adedipe, argued that Bafarawa and his son cannot be tried outside him without fundamental amendment to the present charge against them, adding that the offence of conspiracy cannot be tried separately.
Justice Baba-Yusuf after taking arguments from counsel dismissed the application for lack of merit and adjourned to December 6 to 7, 2017 for hearing.