© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
N1.6bn Fraud: ” I received instructions from President Jonathan to transfer the money” Ex aide, Dufada declares
WARIPAMO-Owei Dudafa, a former Senior Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to the former president, Goodluck Jonathan, has closed his defence in his ongoing trial over a 23-count charge bordering on conspiracy and concealment to the tune of N1.6bn.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission instituted the case against him.
At the resumed hearing before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, the defendant maintained his earlier statements of not conspiring with Joseph Iwejoe, the second defendant in the charge, to conceal the sum of N1.6 billion.
They allegedly conspired and laundered the said money through the accounts of A.B. Wise Resources Limited, Seagate Property Development and Investment Limited, Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited, Rotato Interlink Service Limited, Pluto Property and Services Limited, and De-jakes fast food and Restaurant Limited.
Led in evidence by his counsel, Gboyega Oyewale, SAN, Dudafa told the court that the said money for which he is standing trial belonged to the Anglican Communion of Otuoke community in Bayelsa State, which was realized from a fundraiser organized by the Church, where Jonathan was a member and a Grand Patron.
Dudafa, who opened his defence on September 3, 2018, told the court that a businessman, Prince Arthur Eze, had pledged the sum of $10 million during the fundraiser, and he still maintained his position today.
When his counsel asked him if the said amount was concealed as recorded in the charges, Dudafa answered in the negative and said no money was concealed as the money did not belong to him.
He also stated that the source of the money was not unlawful as stated in the charge.
Dudafa also reiterated that the accounts listed in counts two to nine of the charge were not his and that he was not a signatory to any of the accounts.
He said that the accounts belonged to Somprei Omiebi, a friend of his and a family friend to Jonathan.
He also told the court that he was only carrying out instructions from the then president, and all the monies sent out were done through financial institutions on the orders of Jonathan.
Dudafa denied all the allegations in the charges and urged the court to dismiss them.
He also pleaded with the court to discharge and acquit him.
However, during his cross-examination, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, confronted him with his statement on Exhibit F, which he had earlier denied, stating that he used Avalon Global Property Development company to acquire a property located opposite Chevron, Lekki, Lagos.
Dudafa admitted that the Dollars received on behalf of the former president were paid in cash to Bashir, a Bureau De Change operator, and the Naira equivalents were paid through financial institutions to the beneficiaries.
He also admitted that N30million was paid into De Jakes Fast Food Account, a company in which he is the highest shareholder and a signatory to the account.
He said money was invested.
He also confirmed that no single withdrawal was made in the name of the church, despite the source being a fundraiser organized by the Anglican Communion.
Justice Idris adjourned the matter to February 25, 2019, for the adoption of final written addresses.