Dokpesi docked, remanded in EFCC custody
• Commission vows to recover arms deal’s $6b
FOR allegedly being involved in money laundering and sundry fraud charges, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned former Chairman of DAAR Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi before the Federal High Court, Abuja Division.
Dokpesi, who was charged alongside his business concern, Daar Investment and Holdings Ltd, pleaded not guilty to all of the six counts charge bordering on money laundering and the breach of the Public Procurement Act.
Upon entering his plea, his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) who had filed a bail application could not move it because the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), said he needed time to study it before it could be argued since, according to him, he had just been served with Dokpesi’s bail request.
In his reaction, Ozekhome said the charge against his client was only served on him late last night and he had no opportunity to file the bail request for Dokpesi.
After listening to both counsel, the trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole ordered that he be remanded in EFCC custody pending the hearing of his bail application fixed for today by 12:30 p.m.
The prosecution led by Jacobs accused the defendants of receiving N2.1billion from the office of the National Security Adviser between October 2014 and March 19, 2015 for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s presidential media campaign in breach of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, Money laundering Act and the EFCC Act. Justice Kolawole has fixed trial for February 17, 18 and March 2 and 3.
Meanwhile, the EFCC has vowed to recover every cent of the $6 billion at stake in the arms procurement scandal. In an address at the Anti- Corruption Day, the Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, disclosed that the commission was continuing with the investigations into the arms procurement scandal, and would leave no stone unturned in its efforts to recover all the money involved.
‘‘We will spare no effort to ensure that we recover every kobo of public funds that have been stolen in the guise of arms procurement and the culprits brought to justice,” he vowed.
He added that the commission had investigated 1, 881 cases so far in 2015, out of which 78 convictions were secured.
“In the period also, several interim and final forfeiture orders were handed down by various courts on applications brought by the commission”, he said, adding that substantial amounts of money had been recovered and were still being recovered.
He assured the public of the EFCC’s readiness to combat corruption by stating that already, he had initiated programmes to internally clean up the commission in order for it to deliver on its mandate on a sustainable basis despite the operational challenges it faced.
“I plan to undertake institutional reforms to increase our capacity to fight corruption in Nigeria. Thankfully, the stance of the current government against corruption has created an enabling environment for us to carry out our mandate”, he said.
According to the charge sheet signed by Aliyu Yusuf, Deputy Director, Legal and Prosecution Department of EFCC, Dokpesi was alleged to have between October 2014 and March 2015 conducted procurement fraud by fraudulently receiving N2,120,000,000 into the account of Daar Investment and Holding Company for the funding of media activities for the 2015 presidential election campaign of the PDP.
The alleged offence is contrary to Section 58 (4) (b) of the Public Procurement Act 2007 and punishable under Section 58 (6) and 7 of the same Act. Part of the six-count charge read: “That you Dr. Raymond Dokpesi and Daar Investment and Holding Company Limited between October 2014 and 19 March, 2015 in Abuja, conducted procurement fraud by means of fraudulent and corrupt act, to wit: receipt of payment into the account of Daar Investment and Holding Company Limited with First Bank of Nigeria Plc. of public funds in the sum of N2,120,000,000 from the account of the office of National Security Adviser (NSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria for the funding of media activities for the 2015 presidential election campaign for the People Democratic Party (PDP) and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 58 (4) (b) of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 and punishable under Section 58 (6) & (7) of the same Act.
That you Dr. Raymond Dokpesi and Daar Investment and Holding Company Limited between October 2014 and 19 March, 2015 in Abuja, entered into a purported contract on presidential media initiative and received payment in the sum of N2,120,000,000 into the account of Daar Investment and Holding Company Limited with First Bank of Nigeria Plc. from the account of the office of National Security Adviser (NSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria on account of the purported contract without a “Certificate of No Objection to Contract Award” duly issued by Public Procurement Bureau and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 16 (1) (b), (4) & (5) of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 and punishable under Section 58 (6) of the same Act.
That you Dr. Raymond Dokpesi and Daar Investment and Holding Company Limited between 22 January and 19 March, 2015 in Abuja, knew that an aggregate sum of N2,120,000,000 directly represented the proceeds of criminal conduct of Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and Shuaibu Salisu who were National Security Adviser and the Director of Finance, Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) respectively to wit: criminal breach of trust in respect of the said amount, used the said property and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 17 (b) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004.”