The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, again, ordered that Raymond Dokpesi, the founder of DAAR communications Plc, owners of AIT Television and Raypower Radio, be remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commissions (EFCC) till December 14, pending the court’s ruling on Dokpesi’s bail application.
The Street Journal recalls that Dokpesi was arraigned on Wednesday before Justice Gabriel Kolawale on a six-count charge bordering on alleged N2.1 billion contract scam involving the office of former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki rtd.
The accused was remanded in EFCC custody after he pleaded not guilty following his arraignment, pending the hearing of his bail application argued by his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, and prosecuting counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, SAN.
At Thursday’s hearing, Kolawole said that he could not deliver the ruling on the bail application immediately because the process filed by the counsel to the two parties were only delivered to him in the open courton Wednesday.
According to him, he needed time to study the arguments canvassed for and against in the bail application so as to arrive at a just conclusion in his ruling.
The trial judge, therefore, ordered that the business mogul be remanded again in EFCC custody and be produced by the EFCC on December 14, when the ruling on the bail application will be delivered.
Earlier, Ozekhome had contended that the offence for which Dokpesi is standing trial was ordinarily bailable by law because it was not a capital offence.
He also argued that his client would not jump bail when granted, adding that the accused had in no way contributed to or committed any act of insurgency.
“My client was billed to travel abroad for medical checkup when a telephone call came in inviting him orally to come to EFCC and, without any hesitation, he responded and honoured the invitation as a law abiding citizen.
“His son is about to wed on 17 and 19 of this month and, as a father, he has dispatched invitations to highly placed Nigerians and as such he would be around at all times to stand trial,” Ozekhome said.
He further argued that Section 36 of the 1999 constitution presumed an accused innocent until the contrary had been proved by the prosecution.
In opposing the motion, Jacobs urged the court to discountenance it on the ground that the Federal government was still investigating a fresh allegations of N8.4 billion which Dokpesi allegedly collected for airing the FIFA Under-17 Championship, which was hosted by Nigeria in January, 2012.
According to the prosecuting counsel, the airing right was given to DAAR Communications by FIFA and the Federal government was not a party to the contract in which he allegedly collected the amount from the Nigerian Government.
“Granting the accused bail will prejudice investigation of the allegation and so I the court to take a judicial look at the affidavit evidence of the Federal government, which indicated that no contract paper was exchanged by Dokpesi and any agent of government when the latest one, that is, N2.1bn was paid to him.
“Also, the accused has failed to disclose the nature of his illness and even the letter of appointment with the physicians exhibited by his counsel, including the British airways ticket, was sent on December 5, when the accused was already in EFCC custody,” he argued.
Jacobs further submitted that the accused risked a jail term of seven years upon conviction and so may decide to flee the country if granted bail, so it would be dangerous to admit him to bail.
The Judge, therefore, adjourned the case till Monday for ruling on the application for Dokpesi’s bail.