Justice Minister explains Dasuki’s detention was in public interest

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The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), on Thursday said the federal government did not disobey the order of a Federal High Court, Abuja which granted the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), permission to travel on a medical trip to the United Kingdom.

Malami also said operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) were justified in their continuing barricade of Dasuki’s Abuja home, because the ex-NSA failed to submit himself to investigation on further allegations apart from the charges pending against him before the Federal High Court.

The AGF, who fielded questions from journalists and members of staff of the ministry and agencies under the ministry, said the action of the government with respect to Dasuki’s case was in the public interest.

At the interactive session attended by directors and other members of staff of the ministry, as well as heads of various agencies under the supervision of the ministry, Malami said he would give adequate attention to staff welfare.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja where Dasuki is being prosecuted on four counts of money laundering and illegal possession of firearms had last Monday directed the AGF or his representative to appear before the court on November 23 to clarify the federal government’s position on the issues relating to the order granted the ex-NSA.

While responding to the charge by one of those present that the federal government had flouted the November 3, 2015 order of Justice Ademola, which had permitted Dasuki to travel abroad, Malami gave an undertaking that under President Muhammadu Buhari, “there shall not be flouting of court orders”.

He said: “In some of these cases, some of these high profile culprits may be involved in multiple cases that might require investigation. If you are granted bail in respect of one issue, and the need arises for further investigation in other criminal offences, the law of the land requires investigation and you are bound as a good citizen of the country to submit yourself to investigation.

“The interest of the nation reigns supreme above an individual’s interest. So when the national interest is at stake and it has to be investigated, individual interest naturally gives way.

“It is not enough to conclude that the order was flouted. You have to look at the peculiarities of the prevailing cases on the ground. You can be granted bail with respect to one case and there can be other cases that public policy demands investigation.
“It is only natural to allow investigations to be concluded having regard to the public interest that reigns supreme over and above individual interest.

“The point for consideration is whether the public interest is there as against the individual interest. But as it is, this government is going to uphold due compliance to the rule of law and sustain public interest and sustenance of its tenets.”

Buhari on Tuesday received the interim report of the 13-man committee set up by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) to audit the procurement of arms and equipment in the Armed Forces and defence sector from 2007 to date with a directive that all indicted persons be arrested and brought to book.
The report, among other issues, alleged that Dasuki, in his post as NSA, misappropriated billions of dollars and naira on failed and fictitious contracts.

It further alleged that the NSA failed to procure four Alpha jets, 12 attack helicopters and other military hardware for the prosecution of the war against the insurgency.

Apart from the charges already preferred against the former NSA, the Federal Ministry of Justice had also in a counter-affidavit opposing an application by Dasuki through which he sought an order among other prayers, directing the removal of the DSS barricade from his home.

Malami also said that the present administration would undertake an audit of high profile corruption cases “so that those who are found wanting for compromising investigations and prosecution processes shall be prosecuted”.

He restated the resolve of the Buhari administration to “promptly address the challenges facing our country in building a safer and more secure country, fighting corruption, and improving the economy in order to create jobs and foster inclusive growth”.
The Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Taiwo Abisogun, called for the support of staff of the ministry and agencies under it in order for the new AGF to achieve his set goals.

Director of Public Prosecution in the ministry, Mr. Mohammad Diri, urged the AGF to stop engaging private solicitors to handle cases for the government, assuring Malami that the ministry had competent lawyers and that the funds that ought to go to private solicitors could be ploughed into improving the welfare of staff of the ministry.

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