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Looters List: Dokpesi Sues Lai Mohammed For N5 Billion


Daar Communications Plc chairman High Chief Raymond Dokpesi has sued Minister of Information Lai Mohammed at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory over the publication of his name as a looter.

He is seeking N5billion damages for alleged defamation of character.

He is also praying for an order compelling the defendants, including Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami (SAN), to publish a full retraction of the defamatory publications and to apologise to him.

Dokpesi said the defendants allegedly sent his name as a looter to the United State Embassy, which in turn notified him on March 16 that his visa had been revoked.

The US Embassy, he said, told him it was because his name was among a looters list submitted to it by the Federal Government.

The plaintiff said the publication of his name as a looter was malicious since he has not been convicted by any court of competent jurisdiction.

Dokpesi prayed that the retraction and apology to him be published both in the social media and in newspaper and televisions stations.

In the suit filed on Monday through his lawyer Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Dokpesi is also praying for a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants or their agents from further making any defamatory publications against him, and N50million as cost of the action.

The publications, he said, have prejudiced his constitutionally guaranteed rights to presumption of innocence until proven guilty, and that his right to fair hearing as enshrined in the Constitution has been blatantly violated.

“The defendants’ defamatory publications are malicious and calculated to overreach and prejudice my fair trial and for purposes of stampeding and cowing the court to convict me at all cost by agreeing with the defendants’ skewed position,” the plaintiff said.

Dokpesi said on March 30, the defendants allegedly defamed him by publishing his name as treasury looter in a news conference on the basis that he is on trial for allegedly receiving N2.2billion from the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

According the plaintiff, the defamatory words were understood to mean that he is a corrupt and crooked person, a dishonest man and a thief, unfit to hold public office, incapable of being trusted with public funds and a man lacking in integrity.

“The defamatory words of the defendants were carefully schemed and embarked upon by the defendants as a way of vendetta to denigrate, disgrace, embarrass, humiliate and subject me to inhuman and degrading treatment before right thinking members of the public and the society at large,” he said in a supporting affidavit.

Dokpesi claimed that as a result of the publications, his reputation has been seriously injured as he has suffered considerable “distress, odium, obloquy, ridicule, anxiety” and castigating media analyses.

The plaintiff added that he has received calls from people locally and internationally who “expressed their disappointment that they never knew that he was a man of dubious character” despite his distinguished career in the private and public sectors.

The plaintiff said he built his reputation in the private and public sectors, having been an assistant lecturer in Marine Transport Economics at the University of Gdansk, Chief Planning Officer at the Nigerian Ports Plc, Head of Water Transport Division at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Aviation, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Baldok Shipping Lines Ltd and chairman of Daar Communications Plc, among others.

He said he also held several national appointments, and has received countless awards and recognition.

Dokpesi said his friends, professional colleagues and family members have been looking down on him since the publications, with many of them avoiding him “as they now see him as a questionable, dubious and dishonest person.”

The plaintiff said unless the defendants are perpetually restrained, they would continue to do damage to his reputation.

No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit which was filed on Monday.




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