The Federal High Court, on Wednesday, ordered Chief Raymond Dokpesi and his Daar Investment and Holdings Company Limited to enter defence in the N2.1 billion they allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser in 2015.
Justice John Tsoho gave the order while dismissing the no-case submissions they filed against the charges brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He ruled that the Defendants, who are the founder and the parent company of African Independent Television and Ray Power Radio, had a case to answer in respect of the money laundering and procurement fraud charges.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (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 N2.1 billion from the ONSA between January and March 2015.
Relying on the Supreme Court’s decision in a similar case involving a former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, Justice Tsoho ruled that the prosecution had led prima facie case warranting the defendants to explain their own side of the story.
Justice Tsoho held that his court is guided by the decision of the Supreme Court’s decision in Metuh Vs FRN and hold that a prima facie case has been made against the defendants.
“This is not a stage to evaluate the evidence of the prosecution.
“The no case submission filed by the defendants on June 19, 2018, is struck out.
“The defendants are hereby invited to explain their own side of the story.”
Dokpesi and his company, had through their lead counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), 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.
The defendants for whom Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) appeared, on Wednesday, had also argued that the prosecution failed to lead any evidence linking them to the alleged offences.
Responding, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Oluwaleke Atolagbe, had opposed in opposing the application, urgeg the court to dismiss it and call on the defendants to enter their defence.
In its ruling, the court upheld the submissions of the prosecution counsel, Mr. Atolagbe.
Justice Tsoho held court was not expected to determine whether the prosecution has established the guilt of the defendants at this stage, but only determine if any admissible evidence no matter slight had been led against the defendants.