20181020

N2.1bn Case: Face Dasuki, Not I - Dokpesi Tells Court

DAAR communications founder, Raymond Dokpesi, has faulted the money laundering charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Dokpesi queried the exclusion of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan from EFCC’s probe of the allegation that he (Dokpesi) and his firm, Daar Investment and Holdings Company Limited, were involved in the laundering of N2.1billion.

The businessman, who is being tried with his firm, before the Federal High Court, Abuja also wondered why they were being prosecuted instead of the ex-National Security Adviser (NSA), Mohammed Dasuki, who is alleged to have laundered the money.

Dokpesi’s argument is contained in a no-case submission adopted yesterday by his lawyer, Kanu Agabi (SAN).

The case against Dokpesi and his firm, includes that they allegedly received N2.1b from the Office of the National Security Adviser, under Sambo Dasuki, as payment for a “purported contract on presidential media initiative”.

They are also accused of receiving the N2.1b from ONSA to prosecute the 2015 presidential media campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Adopting the no-case submission yesterday, Agabi, an ex-Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), argued that the prosecution’s case against his clients and evidence led so far are replete with contradictions and inconsistencies.

Agabi argued that the prosecution failed to call vital witnesses such as Dasuki or former President Goodluck Jonathan whom he said Dokpesi implicated in his statement.

The ex-AGF said, “The money was paid by Col. Dasuki. His name is mentioned in the four counts of money laundering as the one who made the payment.

“Therefore, he is the one alleged to be laundering the funds. The money in counts one to four is not being laundered by the defendant. The launderer is Col. Dasuki.

“So, if the launderer is Col. Dasuki, are we going to convict him behind him? We cannot convict him behind him.

“Why is he not charged? His name is mentioned again and again in the charges.

“Even if they are not going to charge him, they should have called him as a witness because it is his action that is in question here,” Agabi said

He equally noted that despite that Dokpesi implicated former President Jonathan, the anti-graft agency failed to interview him or call him as a witness.

He said: “The 1st defendant (Dokpesi), in his statement, implicated the former President. Witnesses testified that they did not interview the former President

“The rule of the court is that once the statement of the defendant (Dokpesi’s statement) is tendered by the prosecution it becomes the case of the prosecution,” Agabi said.

He argued that the prosecution failed to disclose ingredients of money laundering in count one to four

He contended that, for a transaction to constitute a money laundering offence, the money involved must be proceeds of crime.

Agabi noted that, in the instant case, the money in the ONSA’s account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, from which his clients were paid, could not have been proceeds of crime.

He argued that the prosecution failed to establish aprima facie case against his clients to warrant their being callled upon to enter defence.

He argued that the charges were defective as they allegedly failed to disclose the ingredients of money laundering against his clients and were “riddled with inconsistencies from the head to the toes.”

Agabi urged the court to dismiss the charge and discharge and acquit his clients.

Responding, prosecuting lawyer, Oluwaleke Atolagbe urged the court to dismiss the no-case submission and order the defendants to enter their defence to the prosecution’s case.

He argued that all the ingredients of the alleged offences were proved by the prosecution and all the necessary witnesses needed to prove the case were called.

Atolagbe said the defence’s line of argument involving Dasuki’s roles was an admission that they committed the alleged crimes.

He said for instance, the former Director of Finance and Administration of ONSA, Salisu Shuaibu, was called as the second prosecution witness.

He noted that even though the charges before the case were not against Dasuki, the allegations of breach of trust, misappropriation and corruption levelled against the former NSA had been proved with the various witnesses called in the case.

Atolagbe asked the court “to direct the defendants to enter their defence” or enable them call witnesses, such as Dasuki and Jonathan, that they argued the prosecution failed to call.

Trial judge, Justice John Tsoho, adjourned to November 12 for ruling.