Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday ruled that media mogul, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, and his DAAR Investment and Holdings Company Limited must explain the N2.1bn they allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser prior to the 2015 elections.
The court struck out the no-case submission filed by the defendants, who are the founder and the parent company of African Independent Television and Ray Power Radio.
The judge referred to the ruling by the Supreme Court in a similar case involving the National Publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh.
The judge ruled, “I am 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.”
The defendants were prosecuted in a seven counts charge by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accusing them of fraudulently receiving the sum of N2.1bn from the ONSA headed by Sambo Dasuki between January and March 2015.
Chief Kanu Agabi, the lead counsel to the defendants had filed a 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.
Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) who appeared for the defendants argued that the prosecution did not have any evidence linking the defendants to the alleged offence.
Opposing the applications, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Oluwaleke Atolagbe urged the court to call on the defendants to enter their defence.
Atolagbe’s submission was upheld when the judged ruled that at the stage of no-case submission, the court was not expected to determine whether or not the guilt of the defendants had been proved, but only determine if any admissible evidence no matter slight had been led against the defendants.
The judge however described as “instructive” the analysis of the case made by the prosecuting counsel, who contended in his written submission that Dokpesi and his company reasonably ought to know that the sum of N2.1bn was part of the proceeds of Dasuki’s illegal activities.