Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday fixed November 12, 2018 as the date for parties to adopt their written addresses in the trial of former Senior Special Assistant to ex-President Gooluck Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Dr. Waripamo-Owei Dudafa and one other over alleged N1.6 billion fraud.
The date was fixed following the conclusion of cross-examination of Dudafa’s co-accused, Iwejuo Joseph, by counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Oyedepo.
During yesterday’s proceedings, a video clip showing Dudafa and his co-accused being interrogated by an official of the EFCC was shown in the court.
Earlier in his testimony, Dudafa’s co-accused had insisted that he only acted as an account officer to some companies listed in the charge.
Joseph said the anti-graft agency decided to prosecute him due to his refusal to implicate Dudafa.
“Upon my arrival at the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), after I was invited, I was told by some commission’s operatives that I was not the target of their investigation, but Dudafa.
“They said that if I cooperate with them, I will be left off the hook, but that if I refused to implicate the first defendant (Dudafa), I will be prosecuted for the sins of another person.
“I told them that I can’t understand what they mean 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 of my action if I refused to cooperate”, he said.
In his own testimony, Dudafa said the N1.6 billion linked to him by the anti-graft agency was proceeds of donations towards a church project.
Dudafa told Justice Idris that the money was part of the N6 billion realised from the launching towards the building of St. Stephen’s Youth Development Centre, Otuoke, by the Anglican Communion of Otuoke community.
He said, “From my interactions with former President Goodluck Jonathan, I know that the funds were proceeds of a launching that was conducted by the Anglican Communion of Otuoke community for the building of St. Stephen’s Youth Development Centre, Otuoke.
The launching which was done in Lagos on March 16, 2013, was organised by the former President as a member of the Anglican Communion and the grand patron.
“About N6 billion was realised from the event. Several persons made various donations at the event while the chief launcher, Prince Arthur Eze, donated $10 million (about N1.8 billion). The donation by the chief launcher was a pledge which he promised to fulfill in piece-meal.
“When Prince Eze started redeeming his pledge in piece-meal, the former president directed that I get somebody in the private sector that will be able to keep the fund.
“I then brought in a friend, Somprie Omiebi, who later opened an account with a bank in Bayelsa. The naira denominated account was opened to keep Prince Eze’s money.
“Anytime Prince Eze brought any money, the former president will direct that I link up with a Bureau De Change (BDC) operator who will remit the money directly to the account opened by Somprie Omiebi.
“The companies listed in the charge are not known to me and I am not a signatory to their accounts. I am also not a Director. I know Somprie Omiebi as someone in the private sector that brought those accounts and the companies to the former president and his wife for the safekeeping of the money. Omiebi is the only person that knows the details of the various accounts”, he also added.
Dudafa and Joseph were, on June 11, 2016, arraigned before the court by the EFCC, on a 23 counts charge of conspiracy to conceal proceeds of crime amounting to N1.6 billion.
In the charge, the anti-graft agency alleged that the two accused persons, between June 2013 and June 2015, used different companies to fraudulently launder the money.