A Federal High Court said on Wednesday that Chief Raymond Dokpesi has case to answer in a seven court charge against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission bordering on money laundering and fraud.
Ruling on no case submission, Justice John Tsoho said a prima facie case has been established by the prosecution against the defendant.
He ordered that Dokpesi opens his defence.
He held that Dokpesi has explanation to make as why he collected the N2.1bn from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) without any contract.
He said the question to ask at this point is whether the charge against the defendants disclose or link the defendants with offences alleged to have been committed by them.
To which Tsoho answered in the affirmative.
He said for now credibility should not be discarded or taken because the defendants have not given their own evidence.
He held that the defendants collected money from ONSA was not in doubt. Based on that, he said the defendants have explanation to make as why they collected the N2.1bn without any contract.
Tsoho said he was satisfied with the submission of counsel to the prosecution that the defendants have questions to answer as why and what they used the money for when there was no contract between the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the defendants.
Tsoho said, though “at this point the court is not call upon to prove the guiltiness of the defendants but in the light of evidence, it is my opinion that the court should go ahead with the case.”
According to the judge, it is on record that the the defendants collected the money without visible contract from the office of the ONSA. “The money was not paid from the pocket of the former NSA. His media house has nothing to do with the ONSA.
“I’m satisfied that a prima facie case has been established against the defendants. They have to disclose why the got the money.
“The defendants are hence invited to explain their involvement in the matter,” the judge held.
He thereafter struck out the no case submission and adjourned to February 20 and 21, 2019 for Dokpesi to open his defence.
The media mogul who is facing money laundering and procurement charge had maintained that he did not at any time recieved funds from the detained Dasuki
In a no case submission, Dokpesi insisted that he has no case to answer regarding the allegation that he received N2.1bn from the ONSA, prior to the 2015 presidential election
He argued that Dasuki was in a better position to give explanations if funds were unlawfully disbursed from the ONSA account.
Dokpesi, who addressed the trial court through his lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), urged the court to dismiss the charge against him.
He prayed the court to uphold the no-case-submission he entered with respect to the charge.
Specifically, Dokpesi, contended that the anti-graft agency failed to establish a prima-facie case that would warrant the court to compel him to enter his defence to the charge against him.
Dokpesi’s lawyer argued that EFCC was unable to by way of credibile evidence, establish a nexus between his client and the commission of any criminal offence.