By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has lined-up 15 witnesses that will testify against the Chairman emeritus of DAAR Communications Plc, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, who was yesterday, re-arraigned before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
Dokpesi is answering to a six-count criminal charge alongside his firm, DAAR Investment and Holdings Ltd, owners of African Independent Television, AIT, and Raypower FM.
He was alleged to have received about N2.1billion from the office of the National Security Adviser, NSA, for the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential media campaign.
According to the charge, which was signed by the Deputy Director, Legal and Prosecution at the EFCC, Mr. Aliyu Yusuf, the fund was released to the accused person by the erstwhile NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, retd, between October 2014 and March 19, 2015.
The funds were allegedly transferred from an account the office of NSA operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to a FirstBank of Nigeria Plc account owned by DAAR Investment and Holding Company Limited.
The prosecution maintained that the transaction was in breach of ?section 58 (4) (b) of the Public Procurement Act 2007 and punishable under section 58 (6) and 7 of the same Act, as well as under section 17 (b) of the EFCC Act, 2004.
Dokpesi, who was initially docked before the high court on December 9, 2015, was re-arraigned by the anti-graft agency yesterday following the transfer of his case-file to ?another trial Judge.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole had originally adjourned for full-blown trial to commence on the case yesterday.
However, at the resumed sitting, EFCC, took Dokpesi before Justice John Tsoho to enter fresh plea to the charge against him.
Though no reason was given on why the case-file was retrieved from Justice Kolawole, Dokpesi, yesterday, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Justice Tsoho subsequently adjourned the matter till March 2 for trial.
The court equally allowed Dokpesi to go home on the same bail conditions that were handed to him by Justice Kolawole.
It will be recalled that the court had on December 19, ordered him to produce two persons that will stand surety for him.
Justice Kolawole directed that the two sureties must deposit N200m each, stressing that one of the sureties must be a public servant, either serving or retired, not below the level of a Director.
The trial Judge held that in the event that the surety is a serving Director, the person must produce an identification letter from ?his or her boss.
It further held that if such surety is retired, the person must produce a gazetted document depicting that he or she was formerly a Director.
Besides, the court said the second surety could be an ? entrepreneur, who it said must submit three years tax clearance, including that of 2015.
Justice Kolawole ordered that either of the two sureties must tender the title deed of a landed property in any part of Nigeria, the value of which must not be below N200milion.
According to the court, the sureties, must also depose to an affidavit of means, submit two recent passport photographs to the Deputy Chief Registrar, DCR, Administration, of the high court.
Dokpesi was further directed to surrender his international passport to the Deputy Registrar of the court.