Wednesday, February 3

ICC Considers Petition against Dasuki, Okojo-Iweala, Others

ICC Considers Petition against Dasuki, Okojo-Iweala, Others

Mr. Femi Falana (SAN),

• Again, prosecution’s failure to produce ex-NSA stalls his trial
Davidson Iriekpen in Lagos and Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

The International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague has confirmed that it is considering the petition sent to it by a human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), on alleged crimes against humanity committed by the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and others in the arms procurement scandal.

The ICC revealed this in a letter dated February 1, 2016 with reference: OTP-CR-32/16 and signed by Mark P. Dillon, Head of Information & Evidence Unit of the ICC.

The letter read in part: “The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC acknowledges the receipt of your documents/letter. This communication has been duly entered in the Communications Register of the office. We will give consideration to this communication, as appropriate, in accordance with the provisions of the Rome Statute of the ICC.”

Falana had in a petition dated January 19, 2016, requested the ICC to investigate allegations of crimes against humanity committed against the Nigerian people by some former and serving military officials, as well as public officials and private persons who engaged in the criminal diversion of $8 billion earmarked to procure equipment for the armed forces to fight the insurgency.

Falana had demanded that the court commence investigations into allegations of the criminal diversion of the security fund of $2.1 billion and N643 billion earmarked by suspected perpetrators, with a view to determining whether these amounted to crimes against humanity within the court’s jurisdiction.

He also urged the court to invite representatives of the Nigerian government to provide written or oral testimony at the seat of the court, so that the prosecutor is able to conclude on the basis of available information whether there is a reasonable basis for an investigation, and to submit a request to the pre-trial chamber for authorisation of an investigation.

The human rights lawyer asked the court to bring to justice those suspected to bear full responsibility for deliberate underfunding of the armed forces through widespread and systematic corruption in Nigeria; and urged the Nigerian government to fulfill its obligations under the Rome Statute to cooperate with the ICC; “including complying with your requests to arrest and surrender suspected perpetrators of the criminal diversion of the security fund, testimony, and provide other support to the ICC”.

This is just as the trial of the former NSA on alleged corruption charges before an Abuja High Court was again stalled yesterday due to the failure of the federal government to produce him in court at the appropriate time.

Dasuki, who was granted bail by Justice Peter Affem, was re-arrested by operatives of the Department of the State Services (DSS) after he had fulfilled the bail conditions and was taken ‎to an unknown destination.

When the trial came up yesterday, the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi‎ Jacobs (SAN), told the court that Dasuki had been in the custody of the DSS since he was re-arrested last year.

He told the court that he informed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to liaise with the DSS so as to facilitate the defendant’s availability in court but was surprised that Dasuki was not brought to court.

Upon further enquiry, Jacobs said that the DSS claimed that the notice to produce Dasuki in court came too late.
Dasuki was however brought to court after Justice Affem had ‎adjourned the matter to 26 February.

In a related development, Dasuki has filed a motion challenging his continued trial before the Abuja High Court.
In the motion filled by his counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN), Dasuki sought an order prohibiting the federal government from further prosecuting him or seeking any indulgence of the court until the bail granted him by the court is obeyed.

He also asked for an order of the court to discharge him of all the offences brought against him which he said could not be lawfully prosecuted by the complainant while in contempt of the court.

In the alternative, Dasuki applied for a mandatory order to compel the federal government or its agents in the EFCC and the DSS and other enforcement agencies to always produce him in court so that the court could give appropriate directives in compliance with the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

He is also seeking an order to stay further trial in the charge against him until he has exhausted remedies available to him to enforce his right to liberty being trampled upon by the federal government by refusing to allow him to be released on bail.
Hearing on the motion was fixed for February 26.

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