Justice Ahmed Mohammed of an Abuja Federal High Court, has ruled that witnesses in the ongoing trial of the former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki(rtd) should testify behind the screen.
Federal Government is prosecuting the former NSA on a seven count charge bordering on theft of sophisticated weapons, illegal possession of firearms and money laundering.
In his ruling on the prosecution’s application for witness’ protection, the judge held that the witnesses will be allowed to testify behind a screen to be provided by the court.
Justice Mohammed ruled that the screen would be used in such a way that it would not shield the witnesses from being seen by him, the defendant, members of the prosecution and the defence teams.
He, however, held that members of the public in the court are not to be allowed to see the witnesses.
Counsel to Dasuki, Ahmed Raji, objected the application, arguing that the motion constituted an abuse of court process.
Raji contended that a similar application was filed by the prosecution in the same case had been dismissed by the former trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola.
Despite Raji’s objection, the judge 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.
He held, “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.”