A federal high court in Abuja has again ordered that Raymond Dokpesi be detained in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), pending ruling in his bail application on December 14.
The former chairman of DAAR Investment and Holdings Ltd., is standing trial on a six-count-charge bordering on money laundering and contract fraud to the tune of N2.1billion.
Gabriel Kolawole, the presiding judge, gave the order for the remand of the defendant, after lawyers in the trial had argued for and against his bail application.
“The court cannot deliver ruling immediately because all the processes filed by the parties are not before the court,” Kolawole held. “I will need time to assimilate all the facts and the authorities cited by both counsel to the prosecution and the defense.”
Earlier, Dokpesi’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, had urged the court to grant bail to his client on self-recognition or on liberal terms.
Ozekhome argued that Section 128 and 129 of the administration of criminal justice act (ACJA) 2015 stipulates that the offences on money laundering and contract are bailable.
He said Dokpesi was billed to travel abroad for medical treatment when EFCC invited him. Ozekhome added that the medical appointment letter and the entire travelling documents were attached to the application. He said his client would have proceeded on the medical trip abroad but for the invitation of the EFCC.
Ozekhome argued that health related issues were enough reason for the court to exercise its discretion in favour of his client, adding that the defendant had families and businesses in Nigeria and would have no reason to jump bail if granted.
Opposing the application, EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs, said the respondent was charged for unbailable offences.
“For court to grant a bail, it has to look at the nature of the charges preferred against a defendant,” he said.
“One of the charges the applicant is standing trial for carries five years to seven years imprisonment.
“Looking at the evidence available, N2.1 billion was fraudulently paid to the defendant from funds meant for fighting insurgency. We all know that many people have lost their lives to insurgency because of corruption in high places. Therefore, the charges against the defendant are more of a capital offence.
“A cursory look at the medical appointment letter relied upon by the applicant shows that it was acquired for the purpose of this trial. Besides, the applicant did not disclose the nature of the sickness he is going abroad to treat. I therefore urged My Lord to dismiss the application of the defendant for lacking in merit.”
Jacobs also argued that granting the defendant bail would prejudice investigation by the prosecution.