Arms fraud: EFCC re-arraigns Dokpesi over re-assignment of case
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday re-arraigned a former Chairman of DAAR Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, before a Federal High Court in Abuja on six counts of money laundering and other charges relating to procurement fraud.
The charges involve N2.1bn which he allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser between October 2014 and March 19, 2015 to prosecute Peoples Democratic Party’s 2015 presidential media campaign.
The re-arraignment followed the withdrawal of the case by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta from the former trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, and the subsequent transfer of the matter to Justice James Tsoho.
Dokpesi and his firm, Daar Investment and Holdings Ltd, had earlier denied the charges when they were initially arraigned before Justice Kolawole on December 9, 2015.
The judge had subsequently on December 14, 2015, granted bail to Dokpesi in the sum of N200m with two sureties in like sum and fixed Wednesday for commencement of trial.
However, the trial could not begin as earlier scheduled due to the need for the matter to start afresh as a result of the transfer of the case to another judge.
Appearing before Justice Tsoho on Wednesday, Dokpesi, whose defence team is now being led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), again denied the charges as he earlier did during his initial arraignment.
The prosecution led by Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), accused Dokepsi and Daar Investment and Holdings Ltd, of receiving, N2.1bn from the office of the National Security Adviser between October 2014 and March 19, 2015 for the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential media campaign in breach of provisions of the Public Procurement Act, Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act and the EFCC (Establishment) Act.
Dokpesi rounded of his plea on Wednesday by responding, “absolutely, absolutely and absolutely not guilty” to the charges when read to him.
Justice Tsoho granted a request by the lead defence lawyer, Olanipekun, to allow Dokpesi on bail in the same terms and conditions earlier granted him by Justice Kolawole.
The trial was adjourned till March 2 and 3.