Judge says Dokpesi has case to answer in alleged N2.1 billion fraud
To open defence February 2019
The Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday ruled that Chief Raymond Dokpesi and his Daar Investment and Holdings Company Limited have a case to answer in an alleged N2.1billion fraud. He is, therefore, expected to open his defence on the next adjourned date of February 20, 2019.
Dokpesi is being prosecuted for alleged money laundering and procurement fraud to the tune of N2.1billion received from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rdt).
Justice John Tsoho had fixed the date yesterday after giving his ruling on a no- case application filed by Dokpesi and his company. Following the close of case by the Federal government through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in May 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 since the prosecution counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, had failed to prove any element of the offence levelled against the defendants.
In his ruling, however, Justice Tsoho held that Dokpesi and his company had some explanations to make in respect of the N2.1billion they received from the office of the former NSA.The judge, who held that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against the defendants,struck out the no-case submission. “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.”
The court further noted that Dokpesi’s application was similar to that of Metuh Vs FRN, where the appellate court held that the applicant had a case to answer. To Justice Tsoho, Kanu 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 sub-section 3(d).”
The judge held that the inclusion of subsection 3(d) is to whittle down the effect of sub-section 3(a) of section 303, and that considering section 303(3) in its entirety, the question is: “Does the proof of evidence disclose an offence? And if the answer is yes; do the defendants require questions to answer?”
“The purport of no-case submission is that the court is not called upon to make any pronouncement based on the evidence adduced by the prosecution.
“Credibility of prosecution witnesses is not believed, court is enjoined to resist the temptation of evaluating evidence led before it at this stage. Ruling of no case submission should not be of inordinate length,” Tsoho stated.
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