Alleged N2.1bn Fraud: Absence of Defence Counsel Stalls Trial of Dokpesi

IThe trial of the founder of Daar Communications, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, before a Federal High Court in Abuja, Wednesday, was Wednesday Stalled due to absence of defence counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi.
The court had on November 28, 2018, held that Dokpesi has a case to answer in the alleged N2.1bn fraud leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
He was subsequently asked to open his defence on the next adjourned date, February 20.
However, when the case resumed Wednesday, Chief Agabi was absent in court.
Counsel for the prosecution, Rotimi Jacob, told the court that the defence wrote him a letter that the lead counsel is bereaved.
“Today is meant for the defence to open case. I am confronted with a letter that the lead counsel, Kanu Agabi, is bereaved. We have five SANs, including Mike Ozekhome, who chose this date.
“They suggest two months adjournment April 24. As much as I sympathise with the lead counsel in the matter, I submit that one of the SANs should be sent to handle this matter.
“I urge My Lordship that he grants this adjournment until tomorrow because any counsel that announced appearance in a matter is fit to handle the case. It is not a law that only the lead counsel will handle a matter,” Jacob added.
However, counsel who appeared for the defence, Ayo Ogundele, said: “Although Wole Olanipekun is the lead counsel, Kanu Agabi has been the one following up this matter personally. It would be unfair to continue with this matter in his absence.
“Even when Mike Ozekhome was here, he was never the lead counsel,” Ogundele added.
“We chose 24, 25 of April because the month of March is filled with election matters.”
Ogundele pleaded with the court to consider the dates suggested in the letter.
In a short ruling, the presiding judge, Justice John Tsoho, said: “It is not in dispute that Kanu Agabi is the one who has consistently led the defence in this matter. Therefore, seriousness has to be accorded to a letter from him.
“It is interesting to note that none of the SANs who have been appearing with him is present in court. I assume that they have gone to sympathise with him. I hold that his application is honoured.
“This case is adjourned to May 9 and 10 for the defence to open his case,” Justice Tsoho added.
Dokpesi is facing trial for the alleged diversion of N2.1bn received from the office of former National Security Adviser, Col.Sambo Dasuki (retd).

Author: News Editor

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