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Alleged $2.1bn fraud: I’ve no case to answer, Dokpesi tells court

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – Chairman emeritus of DAAR Communications Plc, ‎High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, on Monday, told the Federal High Court in Abuja that he has no case to answer over the allegation that he received N2.1billion from the office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, prior to the 2015 presidential election.

Chief Raymond Dokpesi addressing supporters during the official commissioning ceremony of the Bode Gorge Chairmanship Campaign Headquarters, Maitama, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida 25/10/2017

Consequently, Dokpesi who is facing a seven-count money laundering charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him, secured leave of the trial court to file a no-case-submission to the charge.

He insisted that the anti-graft agency failed to establish a prima-facie case that would warrant the court to compel him to enter his defence to the charge against him.

Dokpesi’s lead counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, maintained that EFCC was unable to by way of credibile evidence, establish a nexus between his client and the commission of any criminal offence.

The defendant said he would file the application to be discharged and acquitted of the charge.

He took the decision after EFCC closed its case, having called a total of 14 witnesses that testified before the court.

EFCC had through its last witness, Usman Aliyu, told the court that Dokpesi diverted the funds he allegedly got from ONSA, into accounts belonging to Daar Communications.

The witness told the court that Dokpesi used N68million out of the $2.1bn, to build his country home in Edo State.

Besides, he said N500m was on January 22, 2015, transferred from the account of NSA domiciled in Central Bank of Nigeria, to the account of DAAR communications.

He said funds were transferred in various instalments of N500 million, N620 million, N113million, among others.

However, under cross-examination, the witness admitted that he was brought into the case this year, adding that his statement on the investigation was made at the commission on May 24.

Meantime, trial Justice John Tsoho adjourned the case till October 10.

Dokpesi is facing trial alongside his firm, DAAR Investment and Holdings Ltd, owners of African Independent Television, AIT and Raypower FM.

The anti-graft agency alleged that the defendants received funds from the ONSA for 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 defendants ‎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.

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