Friday, October 23, 2020

Nigerian court rejects appeal of media mogul Dokpesi in $5.5 million fraud case

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A media mogul, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, and his Daar Investment and Holdings Company Limited, on Friday, lost in their bid to have the Court of Appeal in Abuja strike out the N2.1bn money laundering charges pending against them at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The Court of Appeal in a judgment on Friday struck out their appeal challenging the November 21, 2018 ruling of the Federal High Court in Abuja that they had a case to answer.

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, in the said ruling on their no-case submission, held that the prosecution had led a prima facie case warranting the defendants to explain their own side of the story.

Dokpesi had through their lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), appealed against the Federal High Court’s ruling.

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Delivering judgment on the appeal on Friday, a three-man panel of the Court of Appeal struck out the appeal by Dokpesi and his firm on the grounds that it lacked jurisdiction to hear it.

Justice Stephen Adah who delivered the lead judgment of the Court of Appeal held that the two notices of appeal, dated November 26 and 30, 2018, filed jointly for Dokpesi and DAAR Investment by their lawyer were incompetent.

The court upheld the argument of Mr Oluwaleke Atolagbe, who is prosecuting the case on behalf of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, that it was wrong for the two appellants to file joint notices of appeal against the Federal High Court’s ruling.

EFCC had in the seven counts of money laundering and procurement fraud it instituted against the defendants, accused them of fraudulently receiving the sum of N2.1bn from the Office of the National Security Adviser between January and March 2015.

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The defendants had, however, through their lead counsel, Agabi, filed their no-case submission after the prosecution called 14 witnesses, urging the court to dismiss the case on the grounds that the essential ingredients of the alleged offences were not proved.

But the Federal High Court dismissed the no-case submission and their appeal against the ruling was struck out by the Court of Appeal on Friday.

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