The trial of the former Chairman of DAAR Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, over the N2.1 billion he allegedly collected from the office of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (retd), has commenced on Wednesday, before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), prosecuting for the Federal Government called its first witness, Mukados Aliyu Mohammed, who narrated to the court how billions of naira was spent from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, the witness, a manager in the payment section of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said the former NSA and the Director, Finance of the Office of the National Security Adviser, S.A. Salisu, who were the signatories of ONSA account, ordered the payment of N500 million into the account of DAAR Investment and Holding Company via a payment schedule/mandate dated January 21, 2015.
Aliyu, who is the first witness of the prosecution, said the former NSA also ordered another payment of N500 million on February 2, 2015 and another N620 million into the account of DAAR Investment and Holding Company as payment for “media campaign.”
The witness also told the court that there was another mandate from ONSA to pay Dokpesi’s company another N500 million on March 19, 2015 for the same media campaign.
According to the witness, his office, which verified the payment schedule/mandate, confirmed that due process was followed by Office of the NSA before the monies were paid into the account of DAAR Investment and Holding Company (1st defendant), belonging to the first defendant.
Under cross examination by Dokpesi’s defence counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, the witness told the court that all due procedures were followed before the ONSA account, which is being funded by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, was opened with the CBN.
The witness told the court that all the payments as stated in the schedules/mandates of the ONSA were effected by the CBN because due process was followed.
After the testimony of the first prosecution witness, the trial judge, Justice John Tsoho, adjourned till November 18, for continuation of trial.
Responding to Olanipekun’s questions on the payment schedules/mandates by ONSA, tendered as exhibits by the prosecution, the witness told the court that, Dalhatu Investment Limited, which was mentioned in Exhibit A1 (payment schedule) was paid N500 million for “supply of security equipment.”
He said the Presidential Air fleet was also paid N60.6 million, Makpad General Enterprises Nigeria Limited got N13.6 million for supply of rice to camps of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and the C in C Security Department got N75 million from ONSA’s account with the CBN.
In Exhibit A3, the witness confirmed that apart from the money paid into the account of DAAR Investment and Holding Company, “We have Omile Nigeria Limited and N200 million was paid into the company’s account for consultancy services, Vibrant Resources Limited was paid N450 million for security services, Jawaz Multipurpose Investures Limited got N148 million for supply of security equipment and A.R. Security Solution Limited got N2 billion for “personnel support and logistics.”
Other payments approved by the Office of the NSA, according to the witness, who is a manager with the Central Bank are, N100 million to Hydrocarbons Limited for energy consortium, N239.5 million to DPA Officer of the NSA for the funding of Nigeria Radiation Project, N400 million to Cosst Limited for the supply of security equipment.
Dokpesi, who is the owner of the African Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower Radio, is being prosecuted by the anti-graft agency over the N2.1 billion he allegedly collected from the former NSA, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
He had however, pleaded not guilty to the 6-count criminal charge, bordering on breach of public trust and procurement fraud.
In the charge signed by the Deputy Director, Legal and Prosecution department of the EFCC, Aliyu Yusuf, Dokpesi was alleged to have, between October 2014 and March 2015, conducted procurement fraud by fraudulently receiving N2,120,000,000 into the account of DAAR Investment and Holding Company for the funding of media activities for the 2015 presidential election campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The alleged offence is contrary to section 58 (4) (b) of the Public Procurement Act 2007 and punishable under section 58 (6) and 7 of the same Act.