Absence of prosecution stalls Dokpesi’s trial

By Wahab Akanji, Abuja 

For the second time, proceedings were again stalled on Wednesday before the Federal High Court, Abuja in the trial of businessman, Raymond Dokpesi owing to the absence of the prosecution lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN).Jacobs did not send any of his juniors, but instead, he sent a letter to the court, seeking an adjournment to the next day, a request the defence legal team led by Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) rejected. 

A similar incident occurred when the case last came up onApril 28. Jacobs, who was then engaged in the trial of Senate President, Bukola Saraki before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), equally wrote to the court and sought a new date, following which the trial judge, Justice John Tsoho adjourned to June 15.

When the case was called yesterday, Dokpesi stepped into the dock, following which Adedipe announced a long list of lawyers, including Mike Ozekhome (SAN) and Dayo Akinlaja (SAN) for the defence. 

Justice Tsoho later asked Adedipe if he was aware of a letter written by the prosecution, requesting for an adjournment.

Adedipe said Wole Olanipekun (SAN), who is leading the defence team told him about it. 

He later sought for date in late October or early November, to enable everybody settle down after the court’s forthcoming vacation and the International Bar Association (IBA) conference. 

He added that Dokpesi just return from a medical trip abroad and would be returning in 0ctober, which also informed his request for either late October or early November. 

When asked by the judge if he was aware that the prosecution suggested tomorrow, Adedipe said Olanipekun, who came to Abuja for the case on Tuesday, has returned to Lagos and would not be returning soon. 

Adedipe also told the court that when he called the prosecution lawyer yesterday, Jacobs could not confirmed whether trial will commence in the case. 

He said Olanipekun requested for a fairly long date and that the defendant’s health was also an issue. 

Justice Tsoho adjourned to October 19 for the commencement of trial. 

Dokpesi and his firm, Daar Holding and Investment Limited were arraigned before Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja on February 17 on a six-count charge bordering on alleged procurement fraud and breach of public trust to the tune of N2.1 billion. 

They were said to have received N2.1billion from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) between October 2014 and March 2015, which diverted to fund the presidential campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), an act said to be a breach of provisions of the Public Procurement Act, Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act. 

Jacobs is simultaneously prosecuting no fewer than eight cases cases on behalf of the Federa Government. His presence in one, in most instances, affects proceedings in the others, which are mostly slated for the same day. 

 

His absence in the Dokpesi case yesterday was as a result of his engagement in the hearing of two appeals by Dasuki, before the Court of Appeal, Abuja division, which took place simultaneously with Dokpesi’s trial yesterday morning.

His presence at the Court of Appeal yesterday also stalled proceedings in the case involving ex-National Security Aviser (NSA), Smabo  Dasuki before Justice Husein Baba Yusuf, where he also wrote for adjournment. 

Jacobs is currently involved in the  two cases involving Dasuki before Justices Baba-Yusuf and Peter Afen of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Maitama, Abuja and the trial of Senate President, Bukola Saraki before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT). 

He is also involved in the trial of former Head of Service of the Federation (HOSF), Steve Oronsaye before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja; The trial of ex-Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh and trials of former governors of Abia, Plateau and Taraba states – Orji Kalu, Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame. 

While Kalu’s case is before Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Dariye and Nyame are being tried before Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the High Court of FCT In Gudu, Abuja.

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