On Tuesday, the Federal Government issued six counts of money laundering and other financial crimes against the former chairman of DAAR Communications Raymond Dokpesi.
Mr. Dokpesi has been detained for his involvement in the $2 billion arms contract scandal which has sent shockwaves through the highest echelons of the Nigerian government.
It will be recalled that SaharaReporters first broke the news that Mr. Dokpesi was arrested the same day as the former National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki on December 1st. Since that date, Mr. Dokpesi, Mr. Dasuki, and former members of Mr. Dasukis staff have been detained by Nigerian law enforcement authorities. Sources speaking with the media say that Mr. Dokpesi has received more than N10 billion from the office of the former NSA Dasuki.
His company, DAAR Holding and Investment Limited, was charged alongside him in the suit. The FG claimed that the funds Mr. Dokpesi accepted represented a breach of the provisions of the Money Laundering Act, the EFCC ACT, and the Public Procurement Act.
It will be recalled that Africa Independent Television (AIT), under the ownership of DAAR Communications, was criticized for creating and broadcasting disparaging films against then presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari and later against major APC donor, Bola Tinubu. Mr. Tinubu, who has been the subject of a series of exposes by SaharaReporters, used the Nigerian courts to prevent the film about him from airing. At the time, critics of AIT accused the television station and Mr. Dokpesi of working with the Goodluck Jonathan administration and being biased against the APC.
Before a judge could even be assigned to his trial, Mr. Dokpesi begged Justice Gabriel Kolawole to protect him from the EFCC claiming the group had violated his rights. In his application, dated December 3rd, he claimed that he was held at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja for 48 hours without being informed of the charges against him. Femi Falana, a well known human rights and constitutional lawyer in Nigeria, issued statements to the media that the constitutional and human rights of Mr. Dokpesi and others have not been violated since being remanded into custody.
Mr. Dokpesi’s counsel, Mike Ozehkome, pleaded that the court grants his client bail under “ordinary circumstances”. He argued that his client lacked a criminal record and, therefore, was not a flight risk.