N2.1bn ONSA fund: Court invites Dokpesi, company to open defence

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*Chief Raymond Dokpesi, former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki

The Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled that Chief Raymond Dokpesi and his Daar Investment and Holdings Company Limited are to explain the N2.1 billion they allegedly received from the office of the national security adviser in 2015.

Jusitice John Tsoho who gave the verdict on Wednesday struck out the no-case submission filed by the defendants also ruled that they a case to answer in respect of the money laundering and procurement fraud charges.

‎it would be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had instituted money laundering and procurement fraud case against the defendants, accusing them of fraudulently receiving N2.1bn from the ONSA between January and March 2015.

The defendants had, however, through their lead counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi filed their no-case submission after the prosecution called 14 witnesses praying the court to dismiss the case on the grounds that the essential ingredients of the alleged offences were not proved.

Relying on the Supreme Court’s decision in a similar case involving a former national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, the judge said the prosecution had led prima facie case warranting the defendants to explain their own side of the story.

“I am guided by the decision of the Supreme Court’s decision in Metuh Vs FRN and hold that a prima facie case has been made against the defendants.

“This is not a stage to evaluate the evidence of the prosecution. The no case submission filed by the defendants on June 19, 2018, is struck out. The defendants are hereby invited to explain their own side of the story,” he said.

The defendants for whom Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), appeared on Wednesday, had argued that the prosecution failed to lead any evidence linking them to the alleged offences.

However, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Oluwaleke Atolagbe, had opposed the application, urging the court to dismiss it and call on the defendants to enter their defence.

Tsoho upheld Atolagbe’s submissions.

He held that at the stage of no-case submission, the court was not expected to determine whether or not the guilt of the defendants had been proved, but only determine if any admissible evidence no matter slight had been led against the defendants.

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