A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday granted bail to a businessman and former Chairman of Daar Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, in the sum of N200m with two sureties in like sum.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on December 11 arraigned Dokpesi along with his firm, Daar Investment and Holdings Ltd, ?on six counts of money laundering and procurement fraud involving about N2.1bn which he allegedly received from the office of the National Security Adviser for the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential media campaigns.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole in his ruling on an application by defence lawyers – Chiefs Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) and Mike Ozekhome (SAN) – ordered that Dokpesi be remanded in Kuje prison pending when he would fulfill the bail conditions.
The judge also ruled that one of the two sureties who must be an entrepreneur, must submit his or her tittle deed of a property worth N200m ?in any part of Nigeria.
The judge, who ordered Dokpesi to deposit his passport and other travelling documents with? the Deputy Court Registrar, Litigation, of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, said the other sureties must be a serving or retired director in the federal or state government civil service or any of their agencies.
Such officer if still serving, is required to produce a letter from his employer to show that he is still in service and if retired must produce the gazette of his retirement to show that he was neither compulsorily retired nor dismissed from service?.
The two sureties are also required to swear to affidavits showing that they were worth more than the bail sums.
Justice Kolawole who dismissed all the grounds of the prosecution’s objection to the bail application, also ruled that the two sureties must present their passport photographs to DCR Litigation.
He dismissed the argument of lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) who had contended that Dokpesi would interfere with witnesses if released on bail.
The judge said the allegation was speculative even as he held that the punishment of seven years upon conviction for the charges filed against the accused was not severe enough as to inspire him to jump bail.
The EFCC charged Dokpesi and his firm Daar Investments and Holdings Ltd with fraudulent receipt of N2.1bn from the office of the National Security Adviser between October 2014 and March 19, 2015 for the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential media campaign in breach of provisions of the Public Procurement Act, Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act and the EFCC (Establishment) Act.
He pleaded not guilty to all the six counts.
Justice Kolawole, had after the arraignment on December 11, ordered that Dokpesi be remanded in EFCC custody and be produced in court on Thursday for the hearing of his bail application.
But after the hearing on Thursday, the judge said he needed time to study the arguments canvassed by parties for and against the bail application before he could deliver his ruling.
He then fixed Monday for the ruling and ordered that the defendant be returned to EFCC custody.