As the trial of former Senior Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Waripamo Owei-Emmanuel Dudafa and others over alleged N 5.1 billion continues, the defendants have asked the court to discharge and acquit them.
The plea of the accused persons was contained in a separate no-case- submission applications filed before the Federal High Court, Lagos
Charged alongside Dudafa is Iwejuo Joseph Nna, also known as Taiwo A. Ebenezer, and Olugbenga Isaiah, equally made the same application.
Dudafa, Nna and some companies are currently standing trial before the court presided over by Justice Muhammed Idris, on a 15 counts charges of N5.1 billion fraud brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Also charged with the two defendants are five companies, which are: Seagate Property Development & Investment Limited, Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited and Pluto Property Limited Investment Company Limited and Rotate Interlink Services Limited.
The offences according to the prosecution are contrary to and punishable under sections 17(a), 18(c), and 27 (3) (c) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004.
At the last hearing of the case, the prosecution, through its lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, had informed the court that it has closed it case against the two accused person.
However, at the resumed hearing of the matter on Wednesday, which was slated for the accused persons to open their defence, their lawyers, A. Olufolaju, who stood in for Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), and Mr. Ige Asemudara, informed the court about their clients’ no-case-submission, which they said was brought pursuant to section 302, 303, 357 and 358 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, and section 36 of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999, as amended.
Asemudara, counsel to the second defendant also informed the court that same applications have been served on the prosecution.
The EFCC lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo confirmed receiving the said application and told the court that he needed time to respond to the application, as he was just served.
Upon the request for more time to respond to the application by the prosecution, the Presiding Judge, Justice Idris adjourned the matter till May 15, for hearing of the applications.
Dudafa and Nna, in their applications seeking to discharge them of the allegations, stated that the prosecution has failed to prove the essential elements of the offences linking them to the charges.
Dudafa and Nna added that the evidence so far led has been discredited under cross examination, which manifestly unreliable.
In urging the court to discharge and acquit them of the offence, the duo of Dudafa and Nna stated that, “one of the essential elements of the offences charged have not been proved against them.
They submitted that an exhibit tendered by one of the prosecution, which was a letter from the National Security Adviser (NSA) office signed by Col. Sambo Dasuki, retired, and addressed to the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) requesting for certain money, failed to show if money was actually disbursed.
The defendants in trying to show that the prosecution has failed to prove it case against them said the prosecution failed to tender statement of account to justify the alleged collection and disbursement of fund from CBN, adding that the CBN Establishment Act No.7, now contained in CAP. C4 of the updated version of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, states that, ” the bank shall receive and disburse federal government money and keep account thereof”.
Nna in his no- case submission said two things flow from the above, the first is that a crime has been committed before the money was released .The second is that the money is a product of that Crime.
Dudafa and Nna averred that there is no testimony through any of the prosecution witnesses that mentioned the particular crime or the person or persons who committed the crime and that there is no allegation in the charge that any of the defendants committed the predicate crime,
The defendants said neither the predicate crime nor its proceeds were proved, adding that it is clear from the evidence on record that the alleged crime had been committed before the first and second defendant allegedly conspired to conceal or even concealed the proceeds.
The defendants said the predicate crime must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
Defendants further stated that under cross – examination, the seventh prosecution witness confirmed from Corporate Affairs Commission (C.A.C.) forms and bank mandate of the companies listed as co-accused and the means of identification of their directors, confirmed that each of them have their BVN, which is unique banking identity, adding that no evidence has been led to the fact the Nna was the same as Taiwo A. Ebenezer or Olugbenga Isaiah.
They also stated that the prosecution has failed to prove the essential ingredients of the allegations in all counts of the charge against them. Thereby making it impossible for the prosecution to make any prima facie case to warrant defendants to be called upon to enter their defence in respect of all the all the counts of the charge.
Consequently, both Dudafa and Nna, urged the court to uphold their no-case-submission, and to discharge and acquit them of the 23 counts charge.