Abuja - Nigeria’s former National Security Adviser (NSA) Mohammad Sambo Dasuki was on Monday arraigned on a 19-count charge bordering on money laundering and criminal breach of trust to the tune of $68m (N13.5b)
Dasuki was arraigned before an Abuja High Court alongside his former Finance Director, Shuaibu Salisu and a former Executive Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Commission, NNPC Aminu Baba- Kusa.
Aminu-Kusa’s two firms – Acacia Holdings Ltd and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited – were also part of the accused.
The accused were put on trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on behalf of the government.
They were alleged to have illegally diverted the money from the national treasury.
The accused were charged with conspiracy and criminal breach of trust under the Penal Code Act and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establsihment) Act.
EFCC told the court that it was the accused persons that supervised the unlawful disbursement of billions of Naira from different bank accounts belonging to the office of the NSA.
Dasuki and Salisu were accused of distributing funds held in the account of the NSA in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to politicians, media practitioners and businessmen purportedly for political campaigns and organising of prayer sessions.
According to the EFCC, the funds were distributed to national delegates that attended the presidential primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), held in Abuja in 2014, a process that saw the emergence of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan as sole presidential candidate of the party.
Other expenditures included the payment of N670 million to a publisher; the transfer of N260 million to Chief Tony Anenih and another N345 million traced to Dr Iyorchia Ayu, former Senate president.
Dasuki has, however, said that all the funds spent by him were duly approved by former president Jonathan and that he acted at all times in the overall national interest of Nigeria and its people.
Part of the charges read: "’That you, Colonel Mohammed Dasuki( retired), whist being the National Security Adviser and Shuaibu Salisu, whilst being the Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the National Security Adviser, and Honourable Warripamowei Dudafa (now at large), whilst being Senior Special Assistant, Domestic Affairs to the President, on or about 27th November, 2014 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court entrusted with dominion over certain properties, to wit: the sum of N10, 000,000,000( Ten Billion Naira) being part of the funds in the account of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria( CBN), the equivalent of which sum you received from the Central Bank of Nigeria in foreign currency to wit: $47,000,000( Forty-Seven Million United States Dollars) and 5.6 million Euros, committed criminal breach of trust in respect of the said property when you claimed to have distributed same to the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) presidential primary election delegates and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 315 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532, Vol.4 LFN 2004."
"That you, Colonel Muhammed Dasuki( retired), whilst being the National Security Adviser, and Shuaibu Salisu, whilst being the Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the National Security Adviser between October, 2014 and April, 2015 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court agreed to do an illegal act to wit: criminal breach of trust by public officers in respect of an aggregate sum of N13, 570, 000,000.00( Thirteen Billion, Five Hundred and Seventy Million) being part of the funds in the account of the office of the National Security Adviser and that the same act was done in pursuance of the agreement among you and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 97 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532, Vol.4, LFN 2004."
Accused plead not guilty
The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Dasuki was represented by his lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN), who is also defending him in his trial of money laundering and illegal possession of firearms, instituted against him before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Although all the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges, trial judge, Justice Hussein Baba deferred his decision on their bail application till Tuesday and ordered that they should remain in the custody of the EFCC till the court considered their bail application.