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Court orders EFCC to unfreeze Dokpesi’s bank account, release seized documents

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Chief Judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice John Tsoho, has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to unfreeze the N2.1 billion bank account of the founder of DAAR Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi.

Tsoho gave the order for immediate unfreezing of the account domiciled with First Bank of Nigeria Plc since the Court of Appeal had dismissed the criminal charges, which precipitated the restriction on the account and acquitted Dokpesi.

Delivering ruling in an application filed by Kanu Agabi (SAN) on behalf of Dokpesi, Justice Tsoho ruled that the Federal Government had no basis to put a post-no-debit (PND) order on the account in view of the Court of Appeal’s subsisting order.

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He also held that since the Court of Appeal delivered the judgment that invalidated the criminal charges against Dokpesi, the EFCC had not applied for stay of execution of the verdict.

Tsoho said in the absence of a stay of execution, the court was bound by law to give effect and implementation to the ruling.

He, thereafter, ordered that the PND restriction on the account be immediately removed in compliance with the court decision.

On the claim of EFCC that it has gone on appeal to Supreme Court, Justice Tsoho held that in law, notice of appeal filed at the apex court could not stay the execution of the subsisting judgment.

He added that the EFCC ought to have obtained a stay of execution of the judgment and ordered that all documents seized from Dokpesi or voluntarily surrendered should be immediately returned to him.

But EFCC’s counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, objected to the application on the ground that the commission had already filled a notice of appeal against the Court of Appeal judgment at the Supreme Court.

Atolagbe had urged the court not to unfreeze the account yet until the Supreme Court’s final decision on the matter, adding that the N2.1 billion lodged into the frozen account formed the basis of the charge.

Atolagbe also opposed the request for the release of Dokpesi’s documents in EFCC’s possession, arguing that no specific document was mentioned in the request.

He drew attention of the court to the fact that the Directorate of State Service (DSS) and National Intelligence Agency (NIA) were respondents in the matter, adding that since the agencies were not represented in court, the court could not make valid order against them.

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