I am Being Prosecuted For Refusing To Implicate Ex-President’s Aide– Iwejuo

 

By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi

 

A former Senior Special Assistant to Ex- President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr Waripamo-Owei Dudafa Dudafa, currently facing prosecution alongside one Iwejuo Nna Joseph for alleged N1.6 billion, today told a Federal High Court, Lagos, that he only carried out Presidential directive, in the payment of N15 million to the GTBank account of one Itekesi Florence on May 6, 2015.

This is as the second defendant, Iwejuo told the same court, that he is being prosecuted for his refusal to make indicting statements against the first defendant.

Dudafa and Iwejuo Joseph, are facing trial before Justice, Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court for alleged conspiracy to conceal proceeds of crime and retention of proceeds of crime amounting to N1.6billion.

While under cross-examination from prosecution counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, today, and was asked if he knew one Itekesi Florence, Dudafa Said , ” yes. I know Florence, she is the first cousin to ex-President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan , she is the House Keeper of the ex-President’s House in Yenagoa and Otuoke and I have cause to carry message to her in the cause of running errands for the former President” .

When asked to confirm from exhibit F ( IItekesi statement of account) if he had at any time asked one Mr Bashir ( a Bureau de Change operator” to send N15m to the GTB account of the said Florence, the defendant said he is not sure as it was a long time.

He, however, said he had on several occasions on the directive of the ex-President President, send money to Florence which were transferred to her account by Bashir .

Dudafa further told the court that after ex-president Jonathan lost the 2015 general election, he decided to make preparation to return home and in the process needed to renovate his residence both in Yenagoa and Otuoke which were handled by Florence, his house keeper and that on several occasions, he had cause to direct the transfer of funds to her on the directive of the former president for such projects.

Questioned on a text message he allegedly sent to Bashir requesting to know the exchange rate of dollar to Naira, the defendant said he made the request from the Bureau de Change operator, based on the request of ex- President Jonathan who wanted to find out the rate so that he can know the equivalent of dollars to send to her cousin, Florence.

When re- examined by his lawyer, Mr Gboyega Oyewole, SAN, on why no money was transferred to the Otuoke Anglican Communion, church which he claimed was purpose for the donation from Prince Arthur Eze, Dudafa said my role was to take money and pay to people or institutions as instructed.

” I am not the owner of the account, I was only given instructions by the ex-President to remit , I am also not a signatory to the account. It is a private account, I have no say about how the money in it should be spent”, he said .

Meanwhile, the second defendant, Iwejuo Nna Joseph   opened his own defence today by telling the court that he is being prosecuted because of his refusal to implicate the first defendant, Dudafa.

Joseph in his evidence-in – chief, told Justice Idris, that upon his arrival at the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, he was told that he is not the target of their investigation, but Dudafa and that if he cooperate with them by implicating the former president’s Aide, he will be left off the hook, but that if he refused, he would be prosecuted for the sin of another person.

” I told them that I can’t understand what they meant and they ask me if I have a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, who would be ready to defend me and that I should be prepared for the consequences if I refused”.

He further told the court that he was not the only one invited by the anti- graft agency on the matter, adding that the bank’s Head of Operations, Yenagoa branch, Mr Ademola Folorunso who had earlier testified against the first defendant was invited as well as one Stanley Nwogu, the branch Head Fund Transfer.

Iwejuo denied having any personal relationship with the companies listed in the charge apart from official relationship as the Account Officer responsible for managing those accounts.

” I have no personal relationship with any of the companies, I only manage in my official capacity as the account officer”, he said .

He further told the court that he had no official role in the process of opening the accounts which were opened at the bank’s headquarters and not in Yenagoa.

Nwejuo further told the Justice Idris that as branch manager of Heritage Bank , his role in administering the branch is more of ceremonial, adding that the key officers are the Operations Manager, without which no account can be operated and the Head of the Fund Transfer unit, Stanley Nwogu without which no funds can be transferred from the bank.

Meanwhile, further hearing in the matter has been adjourned till Tuesday, September 18.

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