By Ikechukwu Nnochiri ABUJA – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, told the Federal High Court in Abuja that out of the N2.1billion that Chairman emeritus of DAAR Communications Plc, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, allegedly received from the office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, before the 2015 presidential election, his wife, Oluwatosin, got N100million.
A lead investigative officer at the EFCC, Mr. Abubakar Madaki, said the agency was unable to link the fund which was allegedly released to Dokpesi by the detained former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, retd, three months to the election, to the execution of any contract.
Madaki testified before the court as the twelfth prosecution witness, PW-12. Dokpesi is answering to a six-count charge the EFCC entered against him and his firm, DAAR Investment and Holdings Ltd, owners of African Independent Television, AIT and Raypower FM. The anti-graft agency alleged that the defendants received funds from the ONSA for Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential media campaign. According to the charge which was signed by the Deputy Director, Legal and Prosecution at the EFCC, Mr. Aliyu Yusuf, the fund was released to the defendants between October 2014 and March 19, 2015. The funds were allegedly transferred from an account the office of NSA operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to a FirstBank of Nigeria Plc account owned by Daar Investment and Holding Company Limited The prosecution maintained that the transaction was in breach of section 58 (4) (b) of the Public Procurement Act 2007 and punishable under section 58 (6) and 7 of the same Act, as well as under section 17 (b) of the EFCC Act, 2004. In his Evidence-In-Chief, the witness told the court that EFCC uncovered that part of the fund was transfered to an account that was operated by DAAR investment, to the Presidential debate group. He said Dokpesi who transfered the fund claimed it was his contribution to the Presidential Debate group. The PW-12 equally mentioned one Alhaji Abubakar Jijiwa as one of the beneficiaries of the fund. He said though Jijiwa admitted in his statement before the commission that N100m that was given to him from the fund was a soft loan, Dokpesi however maintained that the money was paid to the man as “a resource person”. Besides, the witness told the court that one Timawus Mathias was also paid N20m from the fund as a resource person, and another N8.1million as payment for political jingles. He said a further probe also revealed that the same Mathias who he said was in charge of AIT in Yola, received N4.5m as compensation for his accidented vehicle. “My lord the sum of N4.3m and N2.3m was used for extension of electricity installation for AIT office in Yola and another N1.3m for borehole in AIT office in Yola”. The witness told the court that Dokpesi’s wife got other funds aside the N100m, adding that two personal assistants of the 1st defendant, Gabriel Agoyin and Godfrey Usifoh, received N40m and N30m respectively, from the fund. Other beneficiary from the fund, according to the witness, included a firm,Trending Shed Nigeria limited which got N230m. He said the Managing Director of the company, one Mrs. Bosode, confirmed that the company received N46m from the fund in five instalments. Meantime, the PW-12 said EFCC wrote some media organisations to confirm claim that they were paid to carry out different media activities. He said the organisations EFCC got responses from were Silver bird TV, Punch and Guardian Newspapers, KissFm, Von, CapitalFM , leadership Newspapers, Abuja broadcasting, Media Trust and Nigerian Pilot Newspapers. Letters from the listed media houses were admitted into evidence by the court and marked as exhibits. The witness said the commission also wrote the Bureau of Public Procurement which he said confirmed that there was no form of contract between ONSA and the defendants. Meantime, trial Justice John Tsoho has adjourned the case till March 9 to enable Dokpesi’s lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, to cross-examine the witness.