Efcc To Court: Dismiss Jonathan’S Ex-Aide Dudafa’S No-Case Submission

Filed in News by on June 20, 2018

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to order ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s former aide, Dr. Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, to open his defence.

The anti-graft agency prayed the court to dismiss the no-case submissions filed by Dudafa and his co-accused, Mr. Iwejuo Joseph Nna, a banker.

EFCC arraigned them before Justice Mohammed Idris on 23-counts of conspiracy to conceal proceeds of crime amounting to over N1.6 billion on June 11, 2013.

The prosecution closed its case on March 16, but the defendants opted to make a no-case submission.

Moving the applications, defence counsel Gboyega Oyewole (SAN) (for Dudafa) and Ige Asemudara urged the court to discharge and acquit their clients as the evidence led by the prosecution did not indict them.

“We urge your lordship to hold that no case has been made out against the first defendant to warrant his being asked to enter a defence,” Oyewole said.

The SAN said the money Dudafa was accused of laundering was given to him by his bosses, adding that there was no evidence that the funds were stolen.

“The first defendant has stated the source of the money. He was an aide. And there is nothing to show that the money came from a criminal source,” Oyewole said.

Asemudara faulted the prosecution’s claim that the money was allegedly obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) based on an instruction letter by former National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd).

“Nothing was tendered showing that the money Dasuki requested left the CBN. There must be a debit note to show that the money left. In the absence of that, it cannot be said that there was a crime,” he said.

Besides, Asemudara said his client, a bank branch manager in Yenegoa, the Bayelsa State capital, had no link with the companies in whose accounts the money was kept.

“These monies were in the ordinary books of the bank and were not hidden under a pillow. If indeed there was concealment, it must be by the bank and not the branch manager who is an employee.

“The accounts were accessible and so the issue of concealment could not have arisen. We urge your Lordship to discharge the second defendant on all the counts,” Asemudara said.

But, prosecuting counsel Nnaemeka Omenwa argued that the prosecution, through its seven witnesses and exhibits tendered, made out a prima facie case against the defendants to require them to enter their defence.

He said there was evidence that Dudafa asked Nna to raise drafts in respect of the monies, adding that it was Nna who signed on the companies’ accounts using fictitious names.

“The evidence on record shows clearly that the first defendant was appointed by the Federal Government as the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Domestic/Household and Social Events between 2012 and 2015.

“The evidence on record shows that in the course of this service, huge sums of money, which are not the first defendant’s salary and allowances, were traced to the accounts, which he procured the second defendant to open, maintain and operate in fictitious names.

“The second defendant, who at the material time was the Branch Manager in Yenogoa branch of Heritage Bank, acceded to the request of the first defendant and agreed with him to conceal these funds in the accounts opened in the name of Seagate Property Development and Investment Ltd, Avalon Global Property Development Company Ltd, Ebiwise Resources, Pluto Property and Investment Company Ltd, Rotato Interlink Services Ltd and De Jakes Fast Food and Restaurant Nigeria Ltd.”

EFCC said the evidence on record established a prima facie case that the funds were received in foreign currencies from Dudafa by Murtala Bashir Abubakar through the state house staff and that Abubakar thereafter converted the currencies to naira and credited the accounts nominated by Dudafa “in grand conspiracy with the second defendant.”

“We, therefore, urge my lord to hold that the prosecution has made out a case of conspiracy against the defendants as alleged in counts 1,” EFCC said.

Justice Idris adjourned till July 6 for ruling on the no-case submission.

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