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Thursday, 26 April 2018

Court permits SSS to tender weapons allegedly found at Dasuki’s residence

Court permits SSS to tender weapons allegedly found at Dasuki’s residence

Sambo Dasuki in court

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, permitted the Department of State Security Services, (DSS), to tender as exhibit, weapons allegedly found at the residence of Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser, (NSA).

The trial judge, Ahmed Mohammed granted the DSS permission while ruling on an objection against the public display of the weapons in the open court by Dasuki.

Mr Mohammed held that it was in the interest of justice and fair play for both the prosecution and the defence that the alleged weapons comprising different types of guns be displayed in the court.

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The judge held that the weapons were listed in the proof of evidence made available to Mr Dasuki and that he would not be prejudiced if the weapons were tendered as exhibits and displayed.

He adjourned the matter until May 22 and May 24 for the display of the weapons and continuation of trial.

Oladipupo Okpeseyi, (SAN), the prosecuting counsel, had asked Williams Obiora, a prosecution witness to identify and display the weapons allegedly found in Mr Dasuki’s house in 2015.

Mr Obiora, an operative of the DSS, was giving his testimony behind a veil following an order of the court that the witnesses’ identity should be protected.

Mr Dasuki’s counsel, Adeola Adedipe, however, raised an objection on the grounds that the trial was being conducted in semi-secrecy in compliance with the 2015 decision of the court.

He premised his objection on Section 190 of the Evidence Act, Section 232 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, (ACJA), 2015 as well as Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution.

He said that since the witness was testifying behind a veil, it was normal and appropriate that the weapons be displayed in the chamber of the judge.

Mr Okpeseyi, however, urged the court to dismiss the objection on the grounds that it was only the official record of the state that could not be displayed in the open court.

He said the order did not include items recovered in the house of a suspect during an investigation.

The witness had earlier told the court that he was part of the team ordered by the Director-General of DSS in 2015 to search Mr Dasuki’s house.

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He said the order to search was based on intelligence report that Mr Dasuki had weapons injurious to national security.

He told the court that a team led by one Ali Burara, armed with a search warrant arrived Mr Dasuki’s house in Asokoro and met armed soldiers, who prevented them from carrying out the search.

Mr Obiora further told the court that the soldiers eventually paved way for the team to search the house and the weapons were found and recorded on the search warrant.

Mr Dasuki is standing trial on charges of unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering.

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