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Dasuki’s N29bn fraud case suffers setbacks after second defendant test COVID-19 positive

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The ongoing trial of former National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), over alleged misappropriation of N29 billion suit Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja, has suffered a severe setback after the second defendant, a former Director of Finance and Administration, Shuaibu Salisu, failed to show up after trial resumed.

Salisu, before the trial resumption, was reported to have contracted coronavirus and was placed under isolation in compliance with guidelines set by the Presidential task Force on COVID-19

Dasuki, along with Salisu, and three others were been prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly diverting public funds into private accounts while serving under the former President, Goodluck Jonathan.

The retired law enforcement officer was been prosecuted along with Salisu, who retired in Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA); a former General Manager, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Aminu Babakusa; Acacia Holdings Limited and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited on a 32-count charge bordering on money laundering and criminal breach of trust to the tune of N29 billion.

Due to the absence at the hearing resumption on Tuesday before Justice H. Baba, the case was adjourned to April 13, 2021 to allow the second defendant, who was reported ill to present at the court.

Counsel to the second and third defendants, Obinna Mbata, who alerted the court of his ailment, appealed that the court adjourns the case to a later date when everyone could be present.

“We got confirmation that he contracted COVID-19. In the absence, we will be praying the indulgence of the court for a date sometime in April, subject to the convenience of the court,” Mbata added.

However, prosecution counsel Oluwaleke Atolagbe informed the Court that he had his witnesses in court but lamented that absence of the second defendant would affect his plans.

While both counsels argued over the absence of the second defendant, the lawyers to the first and fourth defendants did not object to the application for adjournment.

After listening to the arguments placed before the court by the counsel to Salisu and the EFCC, Justice Baba adjourned the matter till April 13 and 14, 2021, for the continuation of trial.

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