Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, had directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to unfreeze the bank account of the chairman of DAAR Communications Plc, Raymond Dokpesi.
Justice Tsoho gave the order yesterday in Abuja when he ruled on Dokpesi’s application through his counsel, Mr Kanu Agabi (SAN).
Agabi, who argued in support of the application, prayed the court to issue an order unfreezing Dokpesi’s bank account which was frozen on the strength of the alleged N2.1 billion fraud charge against him.
The judge ordered that the account domiciled at First Bank be immediately “unfrozen” since the criminal charges which precipitated the restriction on the account had been dismissed and Dokpesi discharged and acquitted by the Court of Appeal.
The judge said the EFCC had no basis to put a post no debit order on the account in view of the subsisting and valid judgment of the Court of Appeal.
He held that there was no application by the EFCC for stay of execution of the appellate court’s judgment which quashed the criminal charges against Dokpesi.
Justice Tsoho said in the absence of a stay of execution, the court was bound by law to recognise the judgment of the appellate court.
He ordered that the freeze order and post no debit on the account be immediately removed in compliance with the appellate court’s judgment.
Ruling on the claim by the EFCC that it had appealed the appellate court’s decision at the Supreme Court, the judge held that the notice of appeal filed at the apex court could not in law stay the execution of the subsisting judgment.
He added that the anti-graft agency ought to have obtained a stay of execution of the judgment.
He further ordered that all documents seized from Dokpesi should be immediately returned to him.
The senior lawyer had submitted that the criminal charges in respect of N2.1 billion had since been dismissed by the Court of Appeal Abuja division but the EFCC wanted to continue to hold his client in bondage.