The Chairman of Daar Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dopkesi, on Tuesday recounted his sad experience following the release of alleged looters’ list which contained his name.
The businessman told the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Apo, Abuja, that everybody treated him like a plague after his name appeared on the list released by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
Dokpesi was being cross-examined by the defendants’ counsel in a suit he filed before Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of the FCT High Court.
He is seeking N5 billion damages from Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed as well as the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
Dokpesi sued the ministers, claiming that they defamed his character by including his name on the treasury looters’ list.
The businessman told the court that the Information Minister, on March 30, 2018, at a media briefing, portrayed him as “a corrupt and crooked person, a dishonest man and a thief”.
He insisted that his reputation had been seriously injured, adding that he had suffered considerable distress, ridicule, as well as political analysis in the media.
According to him, he has been castigated on the basis of the inclusion of his name as number four on the looters’ list.’
Dokpesi demanded N5 billion in damages for libel and urged the court to order the defendants to publish a full retraction and apology to him in all major electronic and print media outlets in country.
The businessman, who answered questions from counsel to the defendants, Damian Agbe, stated that he was unjustly called a looter of treasury.
“The minister (Lai Mohammed) said I was a looter. The minister, clearly in his statement, said he was releasing the list of looters.
“The word ‘alleged’ was never used in his statement. I am in the media; I am a media proprietor,” Dokpesi told the court.
Though he agreed with Agbe that he was facing trial for allegedly collecting N2.1 billion from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Dokpesi declared that he had not been found guilty by any court.
“What is in the public domain is the fact that N2.1 billion was paid to an institution called Daar Investment and Holding Company Limited, operators of Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Ray Power National Network FM. But not that I, Raymond Dokpesi, looted the treasury,” he said.”
According to him, as a result of his being listed among treasury looters, he no longer enjoyed the goodwill of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Dokpesi informed the court that the party recently released the lists of members of campaign councils for the forthcoming governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states without his name among those listed.
“The list of members of campaign councils for Bayelsa and Kogi states, where I was rejected, was released.
“Everybody is treating me like a plague. I was rejected. There are members of national campaign council of leaders nationwide and Raymond Dokpesi is conspicuously absent,” he said.
The businessman told the court that though he held no position in the opposition party, he was a leader and stakeholder in the PDP.
Dokpesi added that all his witnesses, who were to testify for him in the suit, are political associates who he knew for a long time.
The media proprietor said he had suffered a lot of setbacks and discrimination from the society due to his inclusion in the looters’ list.
Justice Adeniyi adjourned the matter till January 16, 2020, for defence.