JONATHAN’S EX-AIDE DISCHARGED AND ACQUITTED OF N1.6 BILLION FRAUD
A former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Waripamo Owei-Dudafa has been discharged and acquitted by a Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos on an alleged N1.6billion fraud charge.
Justice Mohammed Idris in a 190-page judgment on Thursday held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to prove any of the 22-charge beyond reasonable doubt against Owei-Dudafa and a Heritage Bank staff, Joseph Iwejuo.
Justice Idris held that EFCC’s case was “based on suspicions” and suspicions “cannot take the place of legal evidence.”
Justice Idris also held that the EFCC failed to call vital witnesses, like Jonathan, the former NSA Sambo Dasuki, and even the CBN governor, and such failure was fatal to the case of the EFCC.
The judge held that a particular vital witness, Sompre Omeibi, who could have linked the defendants to the offences, was not summoned to testify.
He also said the prosecution failed to carry out a proper investigation as the EFCC did not conclude its investigation before rushing to court, thereby leaving loopholes.
Justice Idris, therefore, dismissed the entire 22 counts charge against Dudafa and Iwuejo.
In a swift reaction, the EFCC Prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo has indicated that the Commission will study the judgment as there legal grounds to challenge same.
The EFCC had accused the defendants of concealing the N1.6billion through a company, Seagate Property Development and Investment Limited, an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 17(a).
They have also accused them of knowingly concealing proceeds of crime through Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited amounting to N399,470,000.00, among others.
EFCC said Dudafa, between June 1 and June 4, 2015, “procured” Iwejuo and Ebiwise Resources to conceal N150 million, being proceeds of crime.
Other companies allegedly used in laundering the money include Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited, Rotato Inter Link Services Limited and De Jakes Fast Food and Restaurant Nigerian Limited.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge