A federal high court has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to unfreeze the account of Raymond Dokpesi, former chairman of Daar Communications PLC.
Dokpesi and his company, DAAR Investment and Holdings Ltd, were arraigned on a seven-count charge bordering on alleged procurement fraud and breach of public trust.
He is alleged to have received N2.1 billion from the office of the national security adviser (ONSA) between October 2014 and March 2015, during the tenure of Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser, for services not rendered.
On November 21, 2018, the trial judge had struck out Dokpesi’s no-case submission and ordered him to open his defence.
Aggrieved, Dokpesi approached the court of appeal seeking to upturn the trial court’s decision.
On April 1, Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, justice of the appellate court, upturned the trial court’s decision and acquitted Dokpesi of all the charges.
Following the appellate court’s decision, Dokpesi filed an application before the trial court seeking to unfreeze his bank account and release documents kept in custody of the court.
But the prosecution had opposed the application on the grounds that a notice of appeal was filed at the supreme court to challenge the appellate court’s judgment.
Delivering a ruling on Tuesday, John Tsoho, presiding judge, said the 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 the notice of appeal filed by the EFCC does not substitute for a stay of execution of the appellate court’s judgment, adding that in the absence of a stay of execution, the court was bound by law to recognise the judgment of the higher court.
The judge ordered that the freeze order and post-no-debit directive on the account be immediately removed.