ABOVE PHOTO: Former Chairman of DAAR Communications Plc, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi
The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, has re-assigned the case file of former Chairman of DAAR Communications Plc, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, to a new judge.
The Chief Judge did not give any reason for collecting the case file from Justice Gabriel Kolawole and re-assigning it to Justice John Tsoho.
Following the re-assignment, the six-count charges were again read to Dokpesi who pleaded not guilty.
Dokpesi was earlier arraigned before Justice Gabriel Kolawale on December 9, 2015 for alleged breach of the Public Procurement Act.
He is answering to a six-count criminal charge alongside his firm, DAAR Investment and Holdings Ltd, owners of African Independent Television, AIT, and Raypower FM.
He was alleged to have received about N2.1billion from the office of the National Security Adviser, NSA, for the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential media campaign.
According to the charge, which was signed by the Deputy Director, Legal and Prosecution at the EFCC, Mr. Aliyu Yusuf, the fund was released to the accused person by the erstwhile NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, retd, between October 2014 and March 19, 2015.
The funds were allegedly transferred from an account the office of NSA operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to a FirstBank of Nigeria Plc account owned by DAAR Investment and Holding Company Limited.
The prosecution maintained that the transaction was in breach of section 58 (4) (b) of the Public Procurement Act 2007 and punishable under section 58 (6) and 7 of the same Act, as well as under section 17 (b) of the EFCC Act, 2004.
He pleaded not guilty to the entire six-count charge before Justice Kolawole and the matter was slated for February 17, 18 and March 2 and 3, 2016, to begin hearing on the substantive charge before the court.
Maenwhile the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has lined-up 15 witnesses that will testify against the Chairman emeritus of DAAR Communications Plc.
After Dokpesi pleaded not guilty, his lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN prayed the court to allow him continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted him by Justice Kolawole.
ABOVE PHOTO: Former Chairman of Daar Communications Plc, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, at the Federal High Court, Abuja. Photo: Gbemiga Olamikan.
Justice Tsoho subsequently adjourned the matter till March 2 for trial. The court equally allowed Dokpesi to go home on the same bail conditions that were handed to him by Justice Kolawole.
It will be recalled that the court had on December 19, ordered him to produce two persons that will stand surety for him.
Justice Kolawole directed that the two sureties must deposit N200m each, stressing that one of the sureties must be a public servant, either serving or retired, not below the level of a Director.
The trial Judge held that in the event that the surety is a serving Director, the person must produce an identification letter from his or her boss.
It further held that if such surety is retired, the person must produce a gazetted document depicting that he or she was formerly a Director. Besides, the court said the second surety could be an entrepreneur, who it said must submit three years tax clearance, including that of 2015.
Justice Kolawole ordered that either of the two sureties must tender the title deed of a landed property in any part of Nigeria, the value of which must not be below N200milion.
According to the court, the sureties, must also depose to an affidavit of means, submit two recent passport photographs to the Deputy Chief Registrar, DCR, Administration, of the high court.
Dokpesi was further directed to surrender his international passport to the Deputy Registrar of the court.
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