Story by Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
A prosecution witness in the trial of former Senior Special Assistant, to Ex-President Goodluck Jonatwhan on Domestic Affairs, Emmanuel Waripamo Owei- Dudafa and a banker, Iwejuo Joseph, today told Justice Mohammed Idris that Heritage Bank Plc did not conceal anything about the accounts of five companies linked to Dudafa.
The witness, Mr Ademola Rasak Folorunso also told Justice Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos that the bank followed due process in the opening and operations of the accounts.
Dudafa and Iwejuo are facing trial under an amended charge of concealing the proceeds of crime to the tune of N1.6 billion
While answering questions under cross-examination from Mr Kolawole Salami, who holds the brief of Mr Gboyega Oyewole , SAN, counsel for Dudafa , the witness also stated that all the transactions carried out on the accounts of the five companies linked to Dudafa were done through electronic transfer and not by cash lodgment .
Folorunso, who was the Operations Manager of Heritage Bank Yenegoa Branch , Bayelsa State, also confirmed that Dudafa’s name did not appear as recipient of any money from the statement of accounts of the companies.
While answering questions from Mr Ige Asemudara, Counsel to the Second Defendant, Mr Iwejuo Joseph, the witness said the companies’ accounts were not concealed either to the bank management, the Central Bank of Nigeria or any regulatory authority.
The witness, who admitted that as the Operations Manager of the Yenegoa branch of the bank, no transaction could go on in the brach without his knowledge, said all the documents required for the opening and operations of the accounts were duly provided by the accounts owners.
Answering to another question from Asemudara, whether he is aware of the BVN policy of the Federal Government, Folorunso stated that he could not state categorically when the policy was made compulsory, but said the BVN linked to the accounts did not have any to do with Iweojuo.
He also confirmed that the major beneficiaries of cash from the companies’ accounts were the signatories to the accounts, who are also directors of the companies and not Dudafa.
Meanwhile, Justice Mohammed Idris has adjourned further hearing in the matter till tomorrow.
Dudafa and Iwejuo are currently facing trial over allegations of conspiring to conceal proceeds of crime.
They were initially arraigned on June 11, 2016, on a 23-count 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.
The five companies 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 EFCC 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.
They, however, pleaded, not guilty to the charge