Jonathan’s ex-aide loses bid to quash N1.6 billion fraud charge
Justice M. B. Idris of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, on August 6 dismissed a no-case submission filed by a former Senior Special Assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa.
Mr Dudafa is facing trial alongside one Iwejuo Joseph Nna on a 23-three count charge on money laundering, failure to declare assets and conspiracy to conceal proceeds of crime to the tune of over N1.6 billion.
The defendants were said to have allegedly concealed N1.6 billion through a company, Seagate Property Development and Investment Limited, an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 17(a) of the same law.
They were also accused of knowingly concealing proceeds of crime through Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited in the sum of N399,470,000.00, among other alleged criminal offences.
The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them, thereby setting the stage for their full trial.
The prosecution, after presenting witnesses and tendering documents that were admitted in evidence by the court, had closed its case against the defendants on March 16, 2018.
However, at the resumed hearing on June 19, 2018, counsel to the first defendant, Gboyega Oyewole, told the court that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima-facie case against his client.
He had also told the court that the first defendant had stated before the court the source and ownership of the monies found in his possession, adding that “the owner of the monies should be questioned and not Mr. Dudafa.”
Also, counsel to the second defendant, Ige Asemudara, had told the court that there was no evidence that his client had committed any of the charges preferred against him by the prosecution.
“There is no evidence that shows that the monies were paid into the personal account of the second defendant and the EFCC has not given evidence that those properties were acquired by his client with proceeds of crime,” Mr Asemudara had said.
However, in his response, the prosecution counsel, Nnemeka Omewa, had prayed the court to discountenance the no-case submission.
“The monies were traced to Dudafa’s bank account.
“The monies found are not proportionate to his monthly salary as a public servant; so, he cannot satisfactorily account for the monies.
“The second defendant, Iwejuo Joseph Nna, who was a staff of Heritage Bank Plc, was the one signing for the monies and forging the signature of one Mr. Olugboyega Emmanuel,” Mr Omewa had further told the court.
He had urged the court not to grant the defendants’ applications, while also praying that they be ordered to enter their defence.
Consequently, Justice Idris had adjourned to August 6 (today) for ruling on the no-case submission filed by the defendants.
In a short ruling today, Justice Idris held that the defendants would need to explain their involvements in the alleged offence.
“The prosecution called witnesses and tendered evidences that I have carefully examined, and a link might be established between the defendants and the offences.
“You have a case to answer,” the judge held.
Justice Idris adjourned the matter to August 20 for the defence to open its case.