In a commando-style swoop, a team of security operatives and plain cloth detectives, on Monday, broke into the private office of the former Vice President Namadi Sambo. The office is located in the same building housing the British High Commission, Abuja.
The operatives broke into the office and then smashed the former Vice President’s private safe and took away foreign currencies estimated to be 50,000 dollars, some land documents and a box containing the former vice president’s wrists watches.
The invasion squad neither identified themselves as coming from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Department of State Services (DSS), the Nigeria Police Force, nor did they leave any inventory of the things they took away. They did not however, enter any office in the building.
Sources said that the Former Vice President is not in the country, as he traveled out on January 25, to keep a date with his doctors.
The sources noted that the former Vice President has been in Nigeria since November last year after undergoing a knee operation in US. January 25 was the date for the final check on the knee injury.
The armed operatives might have been after some big bags popularly called “Ghana Must Go”, that were said to be moved from the former VP’s private house to his office. The bags allegedly contained some hard currencies.
But the bags actually contained some campaign materials used in the last general elections. Which informants interpreted to contain dollars.
A source at the VP’s office noted that the operatives did not come with any search warrant.
But in another development, an anonymous source at the EFCC revealed that the early morning raid on the office of former Vice President Namadi Sambo was as a result of the ongoing probe into the arms purchase saga.
The source further disclosed that the office was invaded in an attempt to obtain documents traced to the office of the former Vice President to the arms deal fund.
Another source at the anti-graft agency said that the former VP’s office is being probed over allegations that some of the funds disbursed for electioneering under the former NSA Sambo Dasuki were routed through it.
We recall that the immediate past National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) is being tried on charges of allegedly squandering about N19 billion meant for arms procurement for the Nigerian military.
Recently at his trial before an Abuja High Court, the embattled Dasuki challenged the audacity of the federal government to put him on trial on the alleged mismanagement of about N19.1 billion meant for purchase of arms when the government has “brazenly refused to obey lawful court orders”, releasing him on bail.
The erstwhile NSA who spoke through his counsel, Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN) pointed out that the prosecution had on three different occasions held the court in contempt as it flagrantly disobeyed the orders of three High Courts that admitted him on bail.
When the matter came up last week, defense counsel, Daudu (SAN) brought an “unless application” challenging the disobedience of the federal government to the earlier bail granted Dasuki.
Daudu submitted that the federal government cannot go ahead with the trial, having disobeyed an order of court which granted bail to the accused person.
He added that a party who disobeyed the order of the court cannot come back to the same court with a request or indulgence.
In the application, Dasuki is praying for an order of court prohibiting the federal government from further prosecuting him on the N19 billion alleged fraud or any other charge or seeking any form of indulgence before any court in the country, until the order admitting him to bail is obeyed.
He also wants an order discharging him from all the offenses contained in the charge on ground that the charge cannot not be lawfully prosecuted by a government that is in brazen disobedience of a lawful court order.
Alternatively, the ex-NSA prays for an order staying further proceedings in the charge until he hasexhausted the remedies available to him in law for the enforcement of his right to liberty as preserved by the bail order granted him.
However, prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) noted that the defence is employing a delay tactic in order to stall the trial.
In their own submissions, counsel to the 2nd and 3rd defendants, Chief Akin Olujinmi, SAN, and Solomon Umor told the court that they were just served in court the processes filed by Dasuki and government and that they need time to study it.
They however prayed the court for an adjournment. Justice Hussain Baba Yusuf consequently adjourned the case till February 4.
Other accused persons are former Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu, and a former Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Aminu Baba-Kusa, were present in court.
It could be also recalled that Justice Baba Yusuf had on December 18, 2015 granted bail to Dasuki and the rest of his co-accused in the sum of N250m with one surety in relation to 19 counts of misappropriation of about N32bn meant for purchase of arms, but was re-arrested and detained.
Also on December 21, 2015 Justice Peter Affen granted bail to Dasuki and his co-defendants with respect to another 22 counts of misappropriation of about N13bn, which was part of the arms fund, in the sum of N250m with two sureties in like sum.
But upon being released from prison after perfecting the bail conditions, he was allegedly re-arrested by operatives of the Department of State Services.
It could also be recalled that Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja had on Wednesday ordered the federal government to produce Dasuki before him on February 16 to answer another sets of criminal charges.
Justice Ademola maintained that it was wrong of the government to have expected the court to conduct a criminal trial in the absence of the defendant and in violation of the law.