Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Chairman, Daar Communication, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, and his company yesterday distanced themselves from the N2.1 billion money-laundering charges brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Rather, they told the Abuja division of the Federal High Court that it was the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), that paid the amount to them in 2015. All the same, Justice John Tsoho has fixed November 22 to deliver ruling on the no-case submissions made by them.
“In the charge before the court, Dokpesi and Daar Investment (the parent company of AIT and Raypower FM), were said to have received the sum of N2.1bn from NSA office, while being headed by Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) as payment for a “purported contract on presidential media initiative.”
The prosecution alleged that Dokpesi and his firm received the sum of N2.1bn from ONSA to prosecute the Peoples Democratic Party’s 2015 presidential media campaign.
The prosecution also alleged that the payment was in breach of the provisions of the Procurement Act, Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act and the EFCC (Establishment) Act.
However, while moving their no-case submission, their counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), argued that it was the former NSA who laundered the money.
The EFCC had closed its case against them with the 14th prosecution witness on May 28, 2018.
It was through the evidence of the prosecution witnesses before the court that Dokpesi and Daar Investment were charged with being guilty of money laundering and procurement fraud involving the sum of N2.1bn, which they allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser between January and March 2015.
At a resumed hearing on Friday, lead defence counsel, Kanu Agabi, asked the court to discharge Dokpesi and his company because the prosecutor failed woefully to prove any element of the offence levelled against the defendants.
Agabi posited that out of the seven-counts charge, counts 1, 2, 3 and 4, bordered on money laundering. He argued that the defendants committed no offence because the proceeds are legitimate.
“I submit that money in the account of National Security Adviser, and Central Bank of Nigeria are not the proceeds of crime and when it is spent for any purpose whatsoever, the NSA is not trying to launder it.
“In what manner did he obtain the money, assuming without conversing that it was a proceed of crime, the essential ingredients of money laundering offence have not been established.
“A payment was made by Colonel Dasuki and his name was specifically mentioned, which implies that he was the person laundering the account.
“The accused are not the launderers but Dasuki. If the money launderer is Colonel Dasuki, are we going to condemn behind him, and if so, why was he not being charged?” Agabi queried.”