Witness testifies in corruption trial of Jonathan’s ex-aide

Waripamo-Owei-Dudafa in Court premises
Waripamo-Owei-Dudafa in Court premises

A prosecution witness, Ademola Folorunsho, on Monday told a Federal High Court, Lagos, that due diligence was observed in the opening of accounts linked to a former presidential aide, Waripamo Dudafa, charged with N1.6 billion fraud.

Mr Dudafa, an ex-aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, is charged alongside one Iwejuo Nna, on charges bordering on N1.6 billion fraud.

The EFCC said the accused committed the offences on June 11, 2013.

The prosecution closed its case on March 16, but the accused opted to make a no-case submission in its defence and urged the court to dismiss the case, on the grounds that the prosecution failed to establish any case against them.

Justice Mohammed Idris in a ruling delivered in August dismissed the no case submission of the accused and ordered them to open their defence.

The defence had since opened its case, after which the court adjourned for the adoption of final written addresses.

Meanwhile, following an amendment of the charge, the accused were re-arraigned on November 12, while the defence opted to recall some witnesses.

On Monday, the witness, a staff of Heritage Bank, told the court that his bank followed due process in the opening and operations of the accounts of companies linked to Mr Dudafa.

The companies are Seagate Property Development & Investment Ltd, Avalon Global Property Development Company Ltd and Pluto Property Ltd, Investment Company Ltd, Rotato Interlink Services Ltd, and Ebiwise Ltd.

Under cross-examination by Kolawole Salami, who was holding the brief of Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), the witness told the court that all the transactions carried out in the accounts of the companies were by electronic transfers and not by cash.

When shown exhibits such as A and B, the witness confirmed to the court that the transactions as can be seen from the exhibits before him are electronic transactions.

The witness also confirmed that Mr Dudafa’s name did not appear as a recipient of any money from the statement of accounts of the companies.

Under cross-examination by the second defence counsel, Ige Asemudara, the witness said that the companies’ accounts were not concealed from the bank management, or any regulatory authority.

He admitted that as Operations Manager, no transaction could go on in his branch without his knowledge, adding that all the documents required for the opening and operations of the accounts were duly provided by the owners.

When asked by Mr Asemudara if he was aware of the BVN policy of the Federal Government, he replied that he could not state categorically when the policy was made compulsory, but said that the BVN in the accounts did not have any link with the second accused.

According to him, the major beneficiaries of the cash from the accounts were signatories to the accounts, who are also directors of the companies and not Mr Dudafa.

Justice Idris has adjourned until November 29, for the continuation of trial.

Messrs Dudafa and Iwejuo are standing trial over allegations of conspiring to conceal proceeds of crime.

They were on June 11, 2016, arraigned by the EFCC 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 accused between June 2013 and June 2015, used different companies to fraudulently launder the money.

The offences contravene the provisions of Sections 17(a), 18(c), and 27 (3) (c) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004. (NAN)

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