By Abdallah el-Kurebe, Editor
#TrackNigeria: Before Justice Muhammed Idris of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, parties in the ongoing trial of a former Senior Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa on Wednesday adopted their final written addresses.
This is contained in a statement issued by the Head, Media and Publicity of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Tony Orilade and made available to Newsdiaryonline Wednesday.
According to the statement, Dudafa is standing trial alongside Iwejuo Nna Joseph, a suspended manager of Heritage Bank, Yenegoa branch, Bayelsa State, on a 23-count charge, bordering on conspiracy and concealment to the tune of N1.6 billion.
“The defendants allegedly conspired and laundered the said money through the accounts of A.B. Wise Resources Limited, Seagate Property Development and Investment Limited, Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited, Rotato Interlink Service Limited, Pluto Property and Services Limited and De-jakes Fast Food and Restaurant Limited.
“At the resumed hearing today, counsel to the first defendant, Gboyega Oyewale SAN, adopted his final written address and urged the court to discharge and acquit his client, Dudafa.
“Oyewale, who also informed the court that the first defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him, told the court that the prosecution had not proved its case.
He argued that the prosecution had only relied on the statement of the first defendant, and that the prosecution has also not proven that the first defendant was guilty of the charge pertaining to concealment and money laundering preferred against him.
“The first defendant was only a servant of his principal employer and no evidence has been led directly to him. The charge in relation to concealment of information relates to asset declaration. The first defendant wrote about his properties without being given room to think and write, as he was still in custody. The said property in Chevron is not his and was not bought from his account,” Oyewale stated.
He, therefore, urged the court to acquit the first defendant on the ground that the prosecution has “utterly failed to prove its case, and only wanted the court to fish for information.”
Counsel to the second defendant, Joseph, Ige Asemudara, urged the court to discharge and acquit his client on all charges levelled against them, while adopting his final written address.
He said, “My Lord, in the charge of forgery, the prosecution is supposed to present original documents and the forged documents before the court, but the prosecution failed to tender the alleged forged cheque. The charge of concealment is only in the mind of the prosecution,” Asemudara said.
The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, adopted his final written address and urged the court to convict the defendants, stating that the first defendant, in his statement, admitted that he received various sums in cash and in dollars, which he did not keep in bank.
He further said that the first defendant sent someone to a bureau de change operator to change the money and conceal them in various accounts operated by him.
According to Oyedepo, “the second defendant assumed different identities in order to operate various accounts of the first defendant. It is an offence for a public officer in the discharge of his duties to receive gratification and gifts. The first defendant, while giving evidence, mentioned that he received gifts from the former president and friends of the president. The first defendant, in his statement, said he acquired a property in Chevron with the money given to him as gifts.”
Oyedepo, further submitted to the court that no one could prove beyond all shadow of doubts, but “it is to prove with evidence beyond all reasonable grounds, which has been done.”
He, therefore, urged the court to convict the defendants.
Justice Idris thanked all the parties for their support and stated that they would all be notified on the date for judgement.