- A Federal High Court in Lagos, has adjourned the EFCC's case against former aide to ex President Goodluck Jonathan, Warampo-Owei Dudafa
- Dr Waripamo-Owei Dudafa says the EFCC coerced him into implicating Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ)
- The former aide to GEJ says the EFCC tormented him while in custody
- Dudafa says he developed a spine injury while in being held by the antigraft agency
A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday, January 24, adjourned till February 13 for continuation of trial of a former aide to ex President Goodluck Jonathan, Warampo-Owei Dudafa, who is facing fraud charges.
Dudafa was charged alongside one Iwejuo Joseph Nna (alias Taiwo A. Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah) before Justice Mohammed Idris on 23-counts of conspiracy and concealment of crime proceeds.
They are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The allegations against the accused border on conspiring to conceal proceeds of crime amounting to over N1.6billion on June 11, 2013.
They pleaded not guilty to all the counts.
At the resumption of hearing on Tuesday, EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, continued with the cross-examination of Dudafa in a trial-within-trial.
A trial-within-trial is conducted in a case to determine the voluntariness of an accused’s statement.
In his response to one of the questions from the EFCC’s counsel, Dudafa claimed that he was never offered administrative bail by the EFCC, while in its custody for 60 days.
He said: “I did not know whether or not I was offered administrative bail on the 18th of May, 2016. There was no time I was released on bail by the commission throughout the 60 days I was in detention”.
However, the EFCC’s lawyer later sought the admission of a document allegedly signed by Dudafa when he was offered administrative bail by the agency. The document was admitted by the court as an exhibit.
Dudafa also maintained that he was never remanded in EFCC’s custody, pursuant to a magistrate court’s order.
Oyedepo had asked him if he will be surprised to know that the commission actually secured an order from a magistrate court to detain him.
Meanwhile, the proceedings were halted following an objection raised by Dudafa’s lawyer to the admissibility of the remand order as an exhibit.
After entertaining arguments by both parties, Justice Idris adjourned to Feb. 13 for ruling on the admissibility of the document and for continuation of the trial-within-trial.
In the charge, the accused were alleged to have concealed N1.6billion through a company, Seagate Property Development and Investment Ltd.
The offence is said to have contravened the provisions of Sections 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.
They were also accused of knowingly concealing proceeds of crime through Avalon Global Property Development Company Ltd, in the sum of over N390 million, among others.
It was alleged that Dudafa, between June 1 and June 4 2015, procured Nna and Ebiwise Resources to conceal N150million being proceeds of crime.
Other companies allegedly used in laundering the money include Pluto Property And Investment Company Ltd, Rotato Inter Link Services Ltd and De Jakes Fast Food and Restaurant Nigeria Ltd.
In a similar vein, Dr Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, said he was “tormented” by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a bid to get him to implicate the immediate past leader.
Dudafa said he developed a spinal cord ailment while in EFCC detention, adding that he was denied adequate medical treatment.
The former presidential aide said all the statements he wrote were dictated to him, and that he was induced to sign in exchange for his freedom.
The Nation reports that Dudafa was testifying in a trial-with-trial which began at the Federal High Court in Lagos after he claimed statements he made at EFCC were not voluntary.
EFCC arraigned him and Iwejuo Joseph Nna (alias Taiwo A. Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah) before Justice Mohammed Idris on 23-count charge of conspiracy and concealment of crime proceeds.
They were accused of conspiring to conceal proceeds of crime amounting to over N1.6billion on June 11, 2013. They pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Dudafa said he was arrested last April 17 on a Sunday and kept in detention till Monday evening without anybody explaining why he was arrested.
The ex-presidential aide said he was kept in detention until April 27 before he was taken to EFCC’s office on Awolowo Road for interrogation, where he made four statements, including an asset declaration form which he described as a “sham.”
Dudafa said he was denied access to his mobile phone from April 27, and his family was stopped from bringing food to him.
The aide to former president Goodluck Jonathan, alleged that the EFCC is mounting pressure on him to incriminate the former first lady, Patience Jonathan, over alleged money laundering.
Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, who is facing corruption trial by the anti-graft agency made the accusation in a petition to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) claiming he was being deliberately punished by the commission because of his loyalty to the former president and his family, Premium Times reports.