‘AIT founder, Dokpesi, got N2.1bn within three months for 2015 presidential campaigns’
Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
A relationship manager with First Bank Plc , Maitama branch , Abuja , Mrs. Zainab Ibrahim – Kokobili , on Wednesday gave details of how African Independent Televison ’ s founder, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, received N 2 . 1 bn from the Office of the National Security Adviser between January and March 2015 .
Ibrahim – Kokobili was testifying before Justice John Tsoho of a Federal High Court in Abuja as the third prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Dokpesi, along with his firm , Daar Investment and Holdings Limited , on charges bordering on the N2 . 1 bn they ( Dokpesi and Daar ) received from ONSA.
Led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Mr . Oluwaleke Atolagbe, the witness said the money was paid by ONSA into the account of Daar Investments and Holdings Limited ’ s First Bank account , to which Dokpesi was said to be a signatory.
Daar Investment and Holdings Limited is the registered owner of AIT .
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had filed six counts of money laundering and other charges relating to procurement fraud against Dokpesi and Daar Investments for allegedly receiving N 2 . 12 bn from ONSA to prosecute Peoples Democratic Party ’ s 2015 presidential media campaign .
Dokpesi and Daar Investments were said to have received N 2 . 12 bn from ONSA , while being headed by Col . Sambo Dasuki ( retd . ), as payment for a “ purported contract on presidential media initiative . ”
The prosecution alleged that the payment was in breach of and punishable under provisions of the Public Procurement Act , Money Laundering ( Prohibition ) Act and the EFCC (Establishment ) Act.
Testifying as a prosecution witness on Wednesday , Ibrahim- Kokobili told the court that she had been Daar Investments and Holding Limited ’ s account officer at First Bank since November 2014 .
Reading from the company ’ s statement of account , the witness said N2 . 12 bn was paid into the account in four tranches of N500 m , N500 m , N620 m and N500 m between January and March 2015 .
The witness said the balance on the company ’ s account was N 113, 885 . 28 before the first tranche of N500 m was paid into the account on January 22 , 2015 .
Ibrahim – Kokobili said , “ January 22 , 2015 – RTGS , being payment by ONSA : N500 m . It was a credit.
“ Before the payment of N 500 m, the balance on the account was N113 , 885 . 28 .
“ February 4 , 2015 – RTGS , being payment by ONSA : N500 m .
“ February 9 , 2015 – RTGS , being payment by ONSA: N620 m only . It was also a credit .
“ March 19 , 2015 – the naration is RTGS being payment by ONSA : N500 m . ”
She said Dokpesi and his son , Paul , were the two signatories to the account of Daar Investments and Holdings Limited .
She said going by the nature of the mandate on the account , either of the two signatories could singly give instruction to draw money from it.
She explained that the sum of N2 . 12 bn was disbursed from Daar Investments and Holdings Limited after receiving instructions from Dokpesi.
She said , “ The customer sent instructions to the bank for payments .
“ Money was paid after getting confirmation from the customer.
“ High Chief Raymond Anthony Alegho Dokpesi was the signatory who sent instructions for the payments . ”
The witness was , however , not led by the prosecuting counsel to give details of the beneficiaries of the disbursements .
Earlier , the witness said she was invited by the EFCC to its Abuja office on February 6 , 2016 .
She said during the visit to the EFCC , she wrote a statement and presented to the anti – graft agency ’ s officials, documents relating to Daar Investments and Holdings Limited ’ s account with First Bank.
The documents were, the statement of account , account opening documentation , certificate of identification and transfer instructions on the account .
The prosecution tendered the documents and were admitted as exhibits by the judge without n objection from the defence team led by Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN ) on Wednesday .
Under cross examination by Agabi , the witness said she did not know when the company ’ s account was opened but confirmed that the account was already in existence before the payment of N2 . 12 bn into it.
When asked, she confirmed that she considered a payment by ONSA into an account as legitimate .
She also confirmed that there were many Nigerians who were in the habit of keeping money at home .
She also confirmed that a person who put his or her money in the bank “ is not trying to hide it. ”
When asked if she knew why the sum of N2 . 12 bn was paid into Daar ’ s account she said “ no ” .
After the cross – examination by defence counsel , the prosecuting counsel, Atolagbe, re – examined the witness .
When asked by Atolagbe whether the bank “ determines” the legitimacy of payments made into a customer’ s account , the witness said , “ at the point of credit, the bank would not know ”.
Justice Tsoho adjourned until May 24 and 25 , 2017 for further trial
Source: The Punch