The Federal Government yesterday filed 19 additional charges against former National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Col. Sambo Dasuki.
Dasuki, now under detention, is being accused of extra-budgetary spending to the tune of N643.8 billion and an additional $2.2 billion in foreign currency component.
The money is said to be part of the $2.1 billion meant for arms purchase for the fight against Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East.
The charges were filed at the FCT High Court, Abuja and sources said Dasuki is expected to be arraigned today or Monday.
He will be arraigned with Salisu Shuaibu, a former Director of Finance in his office; Aminu Baba-Kusa, a former Group Executive Director of NNPC; Acacia Holdings Ltd, and Reliance Referral Hospital Ltd.
Former governor of Sokoto State Attahiru Bafarawa, his son Attahiru Sagir, former minister of national planning Bashir Yuguda and Dalhatu Investment Ltd are also charged separately with 22 counts over alleged diversion of over N10 billion meant for arms. However, details of the charges were unavailable at press time.
A defence lawyer who pleaded anonymity said he doubted if the ex-NSA had been served, adding that “Dasuki would have to be first served the charges in person before he would brief the lawyers.”
Defence counsels, Joseph Daudu (SAN) and Ahmed Raji (SAN) both said they were aware of the fresh charges but declined further comment. The case is slated for January 20th for mention.
Meanwhile, the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello, has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arraign Salisu Shuaibu without further delay or in the alternative release him on bail.
The judge’s order followed a fundamental rights enforcement application filed on Wednesday before the court by Shuaibu’s counsel Abdulhakeem Mustapha. Mustapha told the court that his client, who was arrested in connection with EFCC inquiry into the arms procurement, had been in detention for 21 days.
Also, former Chairman, Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Security, retired Air Vice Marshal Saliu Atawodi yesterday denied any link with the $2.1 billion arms purchase deal.
He said he had never worked under Dasuki and as such had nothing to do with the huge amount of money said to have been allegedly mismanaged.
Atawodi was reacting to the use of his photograph in some national dailies along with those already indicted by the Presidential Committee that probed the alleged arms purchase deal.
Counsel to Atawodi, Wahab Olatoye, who spoke with newsmen yesterday said he should not be linked with any negative issue he knew nothing about while in and out of office.
Olatoye said it was mischievous, embarrassing and unwarranted for anybody or group to have dragged his client into the alleged scandalous arms deal, adding that he had served the nation for years without any blemish on his records.
His lawyer however admitted that a “baseless and frivolous petition” was written against his client in 2012 while he served as the chairman of PICOMMS under the late NSA, Major General Owoye Azazi and that the petition after a thorough probe was found worthless and thrown out by the investigating body.
Olatoye insisted that his client was never indicted by the EFCC, ICPC or any other investigative panel and wondered why the retired air marshal could be linked to an issue in which he had not in any way participated or involved.
“It is true that Atawodi was investigated based on a petition written by one Rabiu Hassan, Managing Director of Hypertech Limited over the purchase of K-38 Patrol boats for the Nigerian Army and it is equally true that at the end of the probe, no shred of evidence could be used to link or establish any fraudulent activity against the retired air chief.