Dokpesi, others: Court to rule on no-case submission November 12
Chief Raymond Dokpesi
The Federal High Court, Abuja, has fixed November 12 for ruling on the no-case application filed by Chief Raymond Dokpesi and Daar Investment and Holdings Company Limited over money laundering charges.
The ruling would determine whether or not there would be need for Dokpesi and his company to open their defence in the fraud allegation involving the sum of N2.1billion said to have been received from the Office of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
Justice John Tsoho fixed the date after parties in the suit made their final submissions on the no-case submission application filed by Dokpesi.
The prosecutor, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had closed its case on May 28, this year at the end of 14th witness account. Subsequently, Dokpesi indicated readiness to file a no-case submission.
At the resumed hearing yesterday, defence Counsel, Kanu Agabi (SAN), asked the court to discharge Dokpesi and his company, saying the prosecutor had failed to prove any element of the offence levelled against them.
Agabi argued that out of the seven-count charge, counts 1, 2, 3 and 4 bordered on money laundering, insisting that the defendants cannot be said to have received a proceed of crime, since the source was legitimate.
He said: “I submit that money in the account of National Security Adviser and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are not 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 it was a proceed of crime, the essential ingredients of money laundering offence have not been established.
“A payment was made by Col. Dasuki and his name was specifically mentioned, which implies that he was the person laundering the account. In that case, the accused are not the launderers, but Dasuki.
“If the money launderer is Col. Dasuki, are we going to condemn him behind his back? If that is the case, why was he not charged?” Agabi queried.
He added that if the objective of the prosecution was to adjudge a man guilty when he has not appeared before the court, Justice Tsoho should not be that kind of Judge, adding: “If a witness who ought to be called by the prosecution is not called, it means that his evidence is detrimental to the prosecution.
“If you uphold these submissions, then, you must dismiss counts 6 and 7, because they are rooted in counts 1 to 4. You cannot build something on nothing,” Agabi insisted.
He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the case, as there was nothing in it.
In adopting his address, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, who represented the EFCC, argued that prosecution has made a very strong prima facie case against the defendants and urged the court to request that defendants open their defence.
“We adopt our written address and urge the court to dismiss the application for no-case submission. We, therefore, urge the defendants to enter their defense.”
He stated that the defendants’ response was a mere re-argument and as such, should be discountenanced, saying: “From the elements highlighted, even by the defendants for all the counts, evidence has shown that a prima facie case has been established.”