Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja has told High Chief Raymond Dokpesi and his Daar Investment and Holdings Company Limited that they have a case to answer in the corruption charges filed against them by the federal government.
The media mogul, who owns Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower Radio, will on February 20, 2019, open his defence on the allegation of money laundering and procurement fraud amounting to N2.1 billion which they allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) between January and March 2015.
After the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had closed its case on May 28, 2018 after calling 14 witnesses, Dokpesi filed a no-case-submission.
His lead counsel, Kanu Agabi (SAN), had asked the court to discharge the defendant and his company because the prosecution counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, failed to prove any element of the offence levelled against the defendants.
But in his ruling, the trial judge held that Dokpesi and his company have some explanations to make in respect of the N2.1billion they received from the office of the former national security adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
Justice Tsoho stated that the prosecution had disclosed a prima facie case against the defendants, and consequently, the no-case-submission was struck out.
“This is not an appropriate stage for evaluation of evidence of the prosecution witnesses. The defendants are invited to explain their own side of the matter,” he said.
The court noted that Dokpesi’s application was similar to that of Metuh Vs FRN, where the appellate court held that the applicant has case to answer.
Tsoho opined that Agabi’s interpretation of section 303(3) of Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, “appears too radical, incongruous and ambitious. It would have been accepted but for the provision of subsection 3(d).”
In the instant case, the court insisted that Dokpesi has case to answer because he knew he didn’t execute any contract with office of the NSA, yet he accepted N2.1billion from Dasuki.
“Certainly, the 1st defendant ought to know that the fund formed part of proceeds of unlawful activity from the ONSA.