The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for the second time yesterday ordered the remand of Chief Raymond Dokpesi in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) till December 14 when it would decide on his bail application.
This came as the Federal Government yesterday raised a fresh allegation of N8.4 billion fraud against him relating to the FIFA Under 17 championships which was hosted by Nigeria in January, 2012.
In opposing his application for bail, the prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), filed counter affidavits deposed to by Mr. Hassan Shaidu, urging the court to refuse the application so as not to prejudice investigations. The lawyer argued that Dokpesi could jump bail.
Earlier, counsel to Dokpesi, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) and Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), prayed the court to admit him on bail as the offences against him are bailable.
Ozekhome argued the application submitted under the provisions of Sections 158 and 159 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 and the offences are bailable.
The lawyer also prayed the court presided by Justice Gabriel Kolawole to release his client on self- recognizance or on liberal terms, adding that he was ready to stand trial to prove his innocence.
He also asked the court to grant the application on health reasons as his client was billed to travel abroad for medical treatment. On this ground, he produced a letter of appointment by Dokpesi’s doctor and a British Airways ticket to convince the judge.
Ozekhome said Dokpesi’s son is getting married between December 17 and 19 and that as a father he has invited highly placed Nigerians and as such, he would be around to stand trial. In addition, he told the court that his lawyers are having difficulty in reaching him in EFCC custody.
However, opposing the bail application, Jacobs urged the court to reject the request because the government is investigating fresh allegation of the N8.4billion he collected for airing the FIFA U-17 championship.
Jacobs told the court that the airing right was given to DAAR Communications by FIFA and the government was not party to the contract and so could not have paid the money.
He noted that if bail is given, it will prejudice investigation of the allegation and urged the court to take a judicial notice of the affidavit evidence of the government which indicated that no contract paper was exchanged by Dokpesi and any agent of government when the money was paid to him, with respect to the N2.1 billion.
On the health condition, Jacobs told Justice Kolawale that Dokpesi failed to disclose the nature of his illness, adding that the letter of appointment with the physicians produced by Dokpesi was sent on December 5 when he was already in EFCC custody including the British Airways ticket.
The prosecution counsel said it would be dangerous to admit Dokpesi on bail because until the charge, he risked seven-year jail upon conviction and as such may decide to flee the country if allowed to go on bail.
Justice Kolawale said the bail ruling could not be immediately delivered because the process filed by the government and Dokpesi’s lawyers were delivered to him in court yesterday.
He said he needed time to study the arguments in the bail application so as to arrive at a just conclusion.