• A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday, ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to unfreeze the account of Raymond Dokpesi and release seized documents
• The order was given by the judge, John Tsoho in a ruling on Dokpesi’s application for the unfreezing of the account
• The court insisted that the account be unfrozen, seized documents be released following the dismissal of the criminal charges which precipitated the restriction on the account by the Court of Appeal
ABUJA- The Federal High Court, on Tuesday, issued an order unfreezing the bank accounts of the chairman of Daar Communications Plc, Raymond Dokpesi.
The judge, John Tsoho, gave the order in a ruling on Mr Dokpesi’s application for the unfreezing of the account.
Tsoho, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, ordered that the account domiciled at First Bank be immediately “unfrozen” since the criminal charges which precipitated the restriction on the account had been dismissed and Dokpesi discharged and acquitted by the Court of Appeal, PremiumTimes reports.
According to reports by TheNation, they were charged with fraud and breach of public trust over the N2.1 billion they allegedly got from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) under Colonel Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
Mr Tsoho said that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) had no basis to put a post-no-debit order on the account in view of the subsisting and valid judgment of the Court of Appeal.
He held that there was no application by the EFCC for stay of execution of the appellate court’s judgment which quashed the criminal charges against Mr Dokpesi.
Mr Tsoho further stated that in the absence of a stay of execution, the court was bound by law to recognise the judgment of the appellate court.
He ordered that the freezing order and post-no-debit on the account be immediately removed in compliance with the appellate court’s judgment.
On the claim by the EFCC that it had appealed the appellate court’s decision at the Supreme Court, the judge held that the notice of appeal filed at the apex court could not in law stay the execution of the subsisting judgment.
He added that the anti-graft agency ought to have obtained a stay of execution of the judgment.
He further ordered that all documents seized from Dokpesi should be immediately returned to him.
Meanwhile, Daar Communications is the parent company of African Independent Television (AIT) and Ray Power Radio.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Dokpesi’s lawyer, Kanu Agabi, earlier in his argument on Tuesday, asked the court to issue an order unfreezing his client’s bank account frozen on the strength of the alleged N2.1 billion fraud charge against him.
The senior lawyer had submitted that the criminal charges in respect of N2.1 billion had since been dismissed by the Court of Appeal Abuja division but the EFCC wanted to continue to hold his client in bondage.
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Agabi had further argued that the charge which led to freezing of the account no longer existed following the decision of the appellate court on the matter.
He tendered two judgments of the Court of Appeal to establish his claim that the criminal charges against Mr Dokpesi had been quashed.
He said until the judgments were set aside, the EFCC could not continue to freeze his client’s account.
However, EFCC counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, had opposed the application on the grounds that the anti-graft agency had already filed a notice of appeal against the appellate court’s judgment at the apex court.
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The anti-graft agency made its position known in a statement shared on its Facebook page on Monday, August 2, Legit.ng gathered.
Following the the indictment of his friend, Hushpuppi, Mompha had asserted that the commission advised him to lay low.