THE Federal High Court, Abuja Division, has refused the bail application of former Chairman of DAAR Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, who is being held over his alleged complicity in money laundering involving N2.1 billion meant for arms purchase. Instead, the court ordered Dokpesi’s counsel to put the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on notice to avail them the opportunity to appear before it on December 14, this year to show cause why Dokpesi, who has been in its custody for about a week, should not be granted conditional or unconditional bail.
Ruling on an exparte bail application argued by Dokpesi’s counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Justice Gabriel Kolawole declined the relief sought. In the exparte application filed on December 3, Ozekhome had prayed the court for an order to compel EFCC to produce Dokpesi who is presently in its custody. He also prayed the court for an order admitting Dokpesi to bail on self-recognisance or liberal terms, pending his formal arraignment by the anti-graft agency.
The grounds of the exparte motion, among others, was that Dokpesi had been detained for over 48 hours without filing any criminal charge against him as required by law. Dokpesi was also said to have on December 1, this year reported at the headquarters of the EFCC, following a telephone call to that effect, but was subsequently detained after several hours of unprepared interrogation.
Other grounds for the motion is that the offences against Dokpesi are ordinarily bailable, adding also that Dokpesi has no reason to jump bail, escape justice or interfere with witnesses. Ozekhome said Dokpesi has no criminal antecedent or record and that because of his status in society, he should be granted bail on self-recognisance or in the most liberal terms.
Dokpesi was on December 1 arrested and detained in connection with money disbursed from the office of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
When contacted, Ozekhome said: “I do not regard this as an arrest. If you are invited by the EFCC, that is not the same thing as an arrest. We got this information through a mere phone call. There is no warrant of arrest and as a well-respected obedient nationalist, Dokpesi decided to go and answer the invitation.”
- Nigerian Guardian