How Dokpesi got N2.1bn from ONSA without executing contract – Witness

How Dokpesi got N2.1bn from ONSA without executing contract – Witness
A prosecution witness in the trial of businessman, Raymond Dokpesi, told a Federal High Court in Abuja Thursday that Dokpesi received a total sum of N2.1billion from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in 2015 without executing any contract to warrant such payment.
The witness, Osaz Ozanobor (an official of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said this while testifying yesterday as the 5th prosecution witness at the resumption of Dokpesi’s trial.
Led in evidence by lead prosecuting lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Ozanobor said ONSA, in a correspondence to the EFCC, said it did not award any contract to the defendants (Dokpesi and his firm, Daar Investment and Holdings Limited), but confirmed that it paid them N2,120,000,000 between January and March 2015.
He said the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), a body saddled with the regulation of procurement activities by government agencies, confirmed, by a correspondence, that its database had neither the record of DAAR Investment and Holdings Limited nor any contract bidding process in which the company participated.
Ozanabor said the N2.1b allegedly paid to DAAR was uncovered by his agency while investigating allegations of misappropriation of public funds by ONSA.
The witness said, “Sometime in 2015, the Acting Executive Chairman of the EFCC (Mr. Ibrahim Magu) formed a team to investigate the misappropriation of public funds by the ONSA.
“In the course of the investigation, we realised that sums of money were paid into the account of DAAR Investment and Holdings Limited by the Office of the National Security Adviser.
“So a letter was written by my team to the Office of the National Security Adviser, requesting details concerning these payments to DAAR Investment and Holdings Limited and to find out if the company had any contract with the Office of the National Security Adviser.
“They (ONSA) responded by stating that series of payments were made to DAAR Investment and Holding Limited totaling the sum of N2,120,000,000.
“The mandates for the payment were also attached by the Office of the National Security Adviser. We got two responses from the Office of the National Security Adviser.
“We wrote another letter to the BPP, requesting the list of contracts done by DAAR Investment and Holdings Limited, requesting the value of the contract and the list of bidders for that contract. They (BPP) responded to our letter,” the witness said.
Jacobs later tendered the letters referred to by the witness, which were admitted by the court, without any objection by the defence.
The prosecuting lawyer asked the witness to read portions o the letter tendered.
A portion of ONSA’s response to EFCC’s investigators’ enquiry, read by the witness, confirm that N2.1bn was paid by ONSA to Daar without award and execution of any contract
ONSA prayed the EFCC “to recover the illicitly transferred funds and impose adequate sanction on all defaulting individuals and entities.”
The BPP, in a letter, dated December 8, 2015, read by the witness, said after “an extensive search” of its database, there was no record of the company “participating in any procurement bidding.”
Ozanobor also read from Daar Investment’s the response, to EFCC’s inquiry about whether or not contracts were awarded to it by ONSA.
The letter by DAAR Investment, dated November 23, 2015, said, among others, that there was no contractual dealing between ONSA and the company.
Under cross-examination by defence lawyer, Kanu Agabi (SAN), Ozanobor, when asked if there evidence that the defendants were aware ONSA did not comply with due process, he insisted that there was no contract between ONSA and DAAR.
The witness said: “I read the responses from ONSA and the BPP and they clearly stated that there was no contract.”
On whether “the work” was done, he said, “There was no contract. There are steps needed to be followed if you want to get contract from the government and everybody knows that. The steps were not followed, so it is self-explanatory that there was no contract.”
On whether Daar was entitled to be paid for a work done, he said, “Yes, if the due process was followed and there was contract which was legitimately awarded.But if the steps are not followed, the company is not entitled to be paid.”
Ozanobor said he did not know if ONSA was exempted from rules and regulations governing procurement by government agencies.
Agabi suggested to the witness that with the EFCC’s letter of inquiry to ONSA, mentioning “national public relations project” and the title stated as “Presidential Media Initiative”, it was obvious that the money paid to DAAR was meant for a project for the laundering of the then Federal Government’s image.
Ozanobor said “The ‘national public relations was coined like that by the defendants. We had to use it that way to verify whether something like that existed.”
The trial resumes on July 6.
Dokpesi and his firm are being tried on a six-count charge, in which they are accused of receiving N2.1bn from ONSA between January and March 2015.
According to our findings Eyes Of Lagos  confirmed that they are also accused of engaging in money laundering and breaching public procurement laws by allegedly receiving N2.12bn from ONSA to prosecute People’s Democratic Party’s 2015 presidential media campaign.
Dokpesi and DAAR Investments were said to have received the sum of N2.12bn from ONSA, while the agency was being headed by Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), as payment for a “purported contract on presidential media initiative”.
The prosecution alleged that the payment was in breach of and punishable under provisions of the Public Procurement Act, Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act and the EFCC (Establishment) Act.

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