A Relationship Manager with a leading commercial bank in the country, Mrs. Zainab Ibrahim-Kokobili, has provided details of how African Independent Television founder, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, received N2.1bn from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, between January and March, 2015.
Ibrahim-Kokobili disclosed this while testifying before Justice John Tsoho of the 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 N2.1bn they (Dokpesi and Daar) received from ONSA.
She said the money was paid by ONSA into the account of Daar Investments and Holdings Limited’s (name of bank withheld) bank account, to which Dokpesi was said to be a signatory.
According to her, N2.12bn was paid into the account in four tranches of N500m, N500m, N620m and N500m between January and March 2015.
However, she pointed out that before the first tranche of N500m was lodged into the account on January 22, 2015 the sum of N113,885.28 was the balance the company had in the account.
She said Dokpesi and his son, Paul, were the two signatories to the account of Daar Investments and Holdings Limited.
The banker added that going by the nature of the mandate on the account, either of the two signatories could singly give instruction to withdraw money from it.
She further explained that the sum of N2.12bn was disbursed from Daar Investments and Holdings Limited after receiving instructions from Dokpesi.
She said, “January 22, 2015 – RTGS, being payment by ONSA: N500m. It was a credit.
“Before the payment of N500m, the balance on the account was N113,885.28.
“February 4, 2015 – RTGS, being payment by ONSA: N500m.
“February 9, 2015 – RTGS, being payment by ONSA: N620m only. It was also a credit.
“March 19, 2015 – the naration is RTGS being payment by ONSA: N500m.”
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.”
After her presentations, Ibrahim-Kokobili tendered supporting documents that were admitted as exhibits by the judge without objection from the defense team led by Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN).
But 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 N2.12bn 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 N2.12bn 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.
It could be recalled that 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 N2.12bn from ONSA to prosecute Peoples Democratic Party’s 2015 presidential media campaign.