The trial of former Chairman of DAAR Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Aleogho Dokpesi, for the N2.1billion the allegedly collected from the office of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd), commenced yesterday before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja with the prosecution calling on its first witness to give evidence in the case. The witness, Mukados Aliyu Mohammed, a manager in the payment section of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was led in evidence by Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), prosecuting counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He told the court that the former NSA and the Director, Finance, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), 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, stated further that 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”. He disclosed that on March, 19, 2015 there was another mandate from ONSA to pay Dokpesi’s company another N500 million 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. However, during cross-examination by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), counsel to the first defendant, 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.
Responding to Olanipekun’s questions on some of the payment schedules/mandates by ONSA, which were tendered as exhibits by the prosecution, Aliyu confirmed that, Dalhatu Investment Limited, which was mentioned in Exhibit A1 (payment schedule) was paid N500 million for “supply of security equipment.” While the Presidential Airfleet was paid N60.6 million, Makpad General Enterprises Nigeria Limited he said got N13.6 million for the supply of rice to the 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, he confirmed that Onile Nigeria Limited was paid N200 million for consultancy services, Vibrant Resources Limited, N450 million for security services, Jawaz Multipurpose Ventures Limited, 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, included 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 Cosse Limited for the supply of security equipment. 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, 2016 for continuation of trial.
Dokpesi, is being prosecuted by the EFCC over the N2.1 billion he allegedly collected from the former NSA, Dasuki. He had however pleaded not guilty to the six-count criminal charge, bordering on breach of public trust and procurement fraud. He 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.