From Godwin Tsa, ABUJA
FORMER Chairman of DAAR Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, was yesterday re-arraigned before Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged N2.1 billion fraud.
Dokpesi pleaded not guilty to the six-count charge.
He was earlier arraigned on December 9, 2015 before Justice Gabriel Kolawale on similar charges when he pleaded not guilty.
He had pleaded not guilty to the six-count charge before Justice Kolawole and the matter was slated for February 17, 18 and March 2 and 3, to begin full hearing on the substantive charge.
The case was fixed for prosecution by Justice Kolawole before the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, re-assigned the case file to Justice Tsoho for fresh trial.
After his plea was taken yesterday, his lead counsel, Chief Wale Olanikpekun (SAN), prayed the court to allow him continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted by Justice Kolawale. The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) for the EFCC, raised no objection.
Justice Tsoho, who granted the prayer in a short ruling held that Dokpesi, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), should continue to enjoy the bail with the same conditions ordered by Justice Kolawale.
Dokpesi was arraigned alongside his firm, DAAR Investment and Holdings Ltd, owners of African Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower FM.
EFCC, in the charge signed by its Deputy Director, Legal and Prosecution, Mr. Aliyu Yusuf, alleged that Dokpesi received about N2.1 billion from the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), for the party’s presidential media campaign.
According to the charge, the funds were released to the accused persons between October 2014 and March 19, 2015.
They were allegedly transferred from an account from NSA operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to a bank account owned by DAAR Investment and Holding Company Limited.
Dokpesi was arrested and detained on December 1, last year in connection with money disbursed from the office of the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd).