ABUJA— The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, yesterday, adjourned till Monday to consider whether or not the former Chairman of DAAR Communications Plc, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, should be released on bail.
Dokpesi, who is answering to a six-count charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is praying the court to grant him bail on self recognition or on most liberal terms.
Moving application for his bail, yesterday, Dokpesi’s lawyer, Mr. Mike Ozekhome, SAN, placed reliance on provisions of sections 31, 167 and 168 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, as well as the decided case-law in Abiola vs FRN, to insist that allegations levelled against his client were not such that he could not be released from detention.
He told the court that Dokpesi was scheduled for medical treatment in the United Kingdom before he was arrested by the EFCC on December 1.
Ozekhome tendered into evidence, an appointment letter dated November 30, which was given to Dokpesi by his doctor in the UK.
Aside the letter which showed that Dokpesi was originally scheduled to undergo medical examination at the London hospital on December 4, Ozehkome equally tendered a British Airways reservation ticket showing that his client would have departed Nigeria a day before his arraignment.
Ozekhome told the court that EFCC had on December 3, granted Dokpesi administrative bail, only for it to be cancelled after the accused person had perfected all the conditions that were given to him.
“This is a proper case for my lord to exercise discretion in favour of the applicant to enable him to go and treat himself because if he dies the prosecution will have no one to try.
“Who will go and try Audu Abubakar now? But his case is there! Can they go and exhume his body from his village in Ogbonicha for prosecution?”, Ozekhome queried.
Meantime, the EFCC, yesterday, vehemently opposed Dokpesi’s application for bail.
The agency, via a counter-affidavit filed by its lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, told the court that Dokpesi was being investigated over a fresh allegation involving illegal diversion of public funds.
Jacobs told the court that the anti-graft is probing Dokpesi over about N8.4billion he collected from the Federal Government when Nigeria hosted Under-17 World Cup in 2012.
He alleged that though it was the world football body, FIFA, that awarded viewing right for the under-age tournament, he said that Dokpesi went ahead and collected “billions of Naira from the Nigerian government.”
“My lord, there are still other issues, we believe that if granted bail, the accused person has the capacity to scuttle ongoing investigation into the matter,” Jacobs submitted.
After listening to both parties, trial Justice Gabriel Kolawole said he would need time to go through all the processes so as to decide whether or not he will accede to the bail application.
While adjourning ruling till Monday, Justice Kolawole ordered that Dokpesi should remain in the custody of the EFCC until his application is determined.