Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has been ordered to clear Raymond Dokpesi, the founder of the African Independent Television AIT, from its watch list.
Naija News reports that the order was given on Monday, October 11, by Justice Tsoho, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Tsoho maintained that there was no justification for the agency to continue to keep Dokpesi on its watchlist since there is no criminal charges or allegations pending against him.
Ruling in an application filed and argued by his counsel, Mr Kanu Agabi, SAN, Tsoho said keeping the Peoples Democratic Party chieftain on EFCC’s watch list will amount to disobedience to the Court of Appeal judgment which in April this year quashed the N2.1B money laundering charges against him.
Naija News reports that the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja had on April 1, this year dismissed the N2.1 billion naira money laundering charges filed against Dokpesi by the EFCC. The court upheld the no-case submission filed by Dokpesi and DAAR Communications in the seven-count criminal charge.
In the judgment, Justice Elfreda Oyebisi Williams-Dawodu had held that the anti-graft agency, the EFCC failed to establish a prima facie case against Mr. Dokpesi in the charges.
The appellate court noted that the prosecution could not provide enough evidence against the AIT chief. The court had agreed with counsel to the appellant, Kanu Agabi that being a predicate offence, the ingredients of the offences against his client must be clearly provided, adding that it is clear that none of the offences was established in line with provisions of the Nigerian laws.
The court had further held that EFCC failed to prove that the N2.1 billion allegedly received by the appellant as payment was a proceed of breach of trust.
Recall that in 2018, a federal high court in Abuja dismissed the no-case submission filed by Dokpesi on the grounds that a prima facie had been established against him by the EFCC in the alleged N2.1B money laundering. Not satisfied with the ruling of the high court, Dokpesi approached the Court of Appeal and asked that the ruling of the lower court be set aside and his no-case submission be upheld.
In his ruling on April 1, 2021, Justice William-Dowodu held that there was nothing in the evidence of the 14 witnesses called by EFCC to persuade the court to compel the appellant to enter defence in the charges where ingredients of the offence were not provided.