The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday March 23, 2021 bemoaned the delay in the corruption trial of Chief Raymond Dokpesi, founder of Daar Communications Plc.
Dokpesi is being prosecuted before John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja for the alleged diversion of N2.1 billion received from the office of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
At the resumed trial on Tuesday March, proceedings were stalled after Chika Odoemene, holding the brief of defense asked for an adjournment on the ground that their supreme witness was currently on admission in a the hospital, which makes it impossible to continue their defense,
In response, prosecuting Counsel Rotimi Jacobs, SAN called the Court’s attention to what he called, deliberate tricks by the defense to delay trial.
He reminded the Court that the prosecution filed this matter since 2016, after which 14 witnesses had been called to testify. He said the defendant didn’t open his defense until January 21, 2020, after his no case submission was rejected by Court.
The learned silk reminded the court that the “first defendant is still in the witness box, with evidence he started in 2020, which he has not concluded.
“My lord, the last adjourned date, which was December 8, 2020, the defense prayed for a long adjourned date because of their supreme witness and my lord granted four months.
“My understanding of the provision of the law is that, until the defendant concludes his evidence-in-chief and cross examination, no other witness can be called by him”.
Jacobs also added that six senior advocates have so far appeared for the defendant in this matter. “And five years after, he is still testifying; my lord the delay is enormous”, he lamented.
Justice Tsoho acknowledged the concern of the prosecution and asked the defense to conclude the testimony of the first defendant on the next adjourned date before making excuses for a witness who is yet to appear.
He adjourned the trial till May 24 and 25, 2021.