The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal Thursday discharged founder DAAR Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, of the N2.1 billion money laundering charges instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In the seven-count criminal charge preferred by the EFCC, the Appeal Court upheld the no case submission filed by Dokpesi and DAAR Communications.
While delivering the judgment in an appeal filed by Mr Kanu Agabi (SAN) on behalf of Dokpesi, Justice Elfreda Williams-Dawodu held that the EFCC failed woefully to establish a prima facie case against Dokpesi.
According to the trial Judge, the ingredients of the offences were not provided by the anti-graft agency as required by law.
The appellate court agreed with Agabi that being a predicate offence, the ingredients of the offences against Dokpesi must be provided.
The appellate court further held that the prosecution failed to prove that the N2.1 billion allegedly received by Dokpesi was a breach of trust.
Justice William-Dowodu, in a unanimous judgment, held that there was nothing in the evidence of the 14 witnesses called by the prosecution to persuade the court to compel the appellant to enter a defence in the charges were ingredients of the offences were not provided.
“No case was made against the appellant in counts 1, 2, 3 and 4 to warrant his being called upon to open his defence.
“There is no possibility that the appellant can be convicted because the evidence is manifestly unreliable.
“I am of the view that irrespective of the ingredients stated earlier and those by the appellant and first respondent, respectively, prior proof or establishment of the predicate offences in count 1,2,3 and 4 of the amended charge is sine qua non to the proof of the offences of money laundering specified in the said counts.
“In totality, this appeal has merit, it is allowed and the ruling of the Federal High Court is hereby set aside and the appellant is discharged,” the judge held.