Emeka Etiaba, SAN, counsel to the embattled former spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Olisa Metuh on Tuesday, October 31, 2017, asked Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja to order the arrest of Director General, Department of State Service (DSS) Lawal Daura, following the failure of the DSS to produce former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, in court to give evidence.
The court had on October 25 directed the service of subpoena order on Dasuki and former President Goodluck Jonathan following Metuh’s application to have the duo as witnesses in the N400 million fraud case instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
At the resumed sitting today, while Dasuki was not produced in court, Jonathan’s counsel, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, appeared in court to challenge the subpoena issued on the former President.
Addressing the court today, Etiaba asked the court to invoke the provisions of Section 244 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act by ordering Daura’s arrest.
His words: “I urge your Lordship to apply consequences provided by the law. I say so because, whenever Sambo Dasuki wants to go to court on his own, it is the duty of the DSS to take him to court and if they don’t want to take him to court, they will decide not to take him to court”.
Etiaba also noted that “the DSS is known for disobeying court orders” adding that the court has the power to issue a bench warrant on the DG, DSS in person since he is a human being.
On his part, Dasuki’s counsel, Ahmed Raji, SAN, told the court that an application was submitted on the subpoena issue on October 27, 2017. He added that they had also filed another notice before the court of appeal praying the appellate court to stay the subpoena order.
“There is an affidavit of extreme urgency here in court and all parties have been served including the court registrar. On Monday, the applicant filed his brief of argument to all parties and respondents to show readiness and just yesterday my Lord, the applicant filed another application at the Court of Appeal for accelerated hearing”, Raji said.
The learned silk further told the court that a motion on notice has also been served praying the court to stay execution on the subpoena pending the determination of the motion that has been filed at the Court of Appeal
“It is my wish for the court to stay execution pending the determination of all applications at the Court of Appeal. In the light of this, energy should not be wasted on the execution of the subpoena order”, he pleaded.
Ozekhome in his submission informed the court of his client’s motion seeking an order setting aside the subpoena issued on the ex-President.
Ozekhome requested as an alternative prayer that Metuh should be made to provide the sum of N1billion to cover for Jonathan’s and his security personnel traveling expenses from his home town, Otuoke in Bayelsa State, to Abuja.
He also supported the call for Daura’s arrest and called for indefinite adjournment of the trial pending when Dasuki’s motion would be determined by the Court of Appeal.
Responding, Sylvanus Tahir, counsel to EFCC, narrated the efforts of the EFCC in complying with the court order directing the anti-graft agency to liaise with the DSS.
“I personally liaised with the Legal Adviser of the DSS on the need for the DSS to comply with the court order.
“Up till this morning, the said Legal Adviser informed me that they were ready and willing to bring the intended witness to court, but that the subpoenaed witness said, on the advice of his legal team, he has been advised not to come to court.
“I advised the Legal Adviser, that in the circumstances the DSS found itself, they should personally come to court this morning to explain their situation to the court. Our own role is to facilitate by liaising with the DSS, so we have played our part”, Tahir stated.
On the issue of stay of execution of the subpoena order raised by Raji, Tahir stated that “we have actually responded on point of law on the issue of stay of execution of the subpoena order”, stressing his opposition to the application.
On Ozekhome’s application, Tahir said, “In respect to the application of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, we have no intention of joining issues on that. When we come back we will go through other applications and respond”.
On his part, counsel to the second defendant (Destra Investments) Tochukwu Onwugbufor, SAN, while responding to Tahir’s submission on Dasuki urged the court to order Daura’s arrest.
He wondered why Dasuki could be more powerful than the DSS that was detaining him to the extent that he could stop the agency from producing him in court.
He argued that the DSS’ conduct by failing to produce Dasuki in court was an act of disrespect for the court.
After listening to arguments by counsel, Justice Abang said “I cannot come to conclusion that the DG DSS has flouted the order of the court. Further opportunity shall be given to provide the witness in court”
The judge ordered counsel to come with their submissions by way of written or oral applications, while adjourning to November 1, 2017 for continuation of trial.