A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday gave an order permitting the prosecution witnesses in the trial of a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), to testify behind the screen.
Dasuki is being prosecuted before the court on seven counts of theft of Federal Government’s sophisticated weapons, illegal possession of firearms and money laundering.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in a ruling on the prosecution’s application for witness protection, ordered that the witnesses would be allowed to testify behind a screen to be provided by the court.
The judge ordered that the screen would be used in such a way that it would not shield the witnesses from being seen by him (the judge), the defendant, and members of the prosecution and the defence teams.
Other members of the public in the court are not to be allowed to see the witnesses.
In dismissing the objection of the defence to the application on Thursday, Justice Mohammed ruled that the application was in order since Section 232 (4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 allows the use of such screen by prosecution witnesses in cases involving economic and financial crimes.
The judge ruled, “Section 232 (4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act permits the use of screen in a charge of economic and financial crimes, and money laundering is part of the charges instituted against the defendant.
“Therefore, the request is in order, especially when it has not been shown that it will prejudice against the defendant.”
The judge dismissed the ground of objection by Dasuki’s lead counsel, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), who argued that the application constituted an abuse of court process because a similar one filed by the prosecution in the same case had been dismissed by the former trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola.