The Federal High Court in Lagos has further postponed judgment in the case of Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, a former Special Adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, who was charged with N1.6bn fraud. Though Justice Mohammed Idris had fixed Friday to deliver judgment in the case, he told the parties that in the course of writing the judgment he discovered an area on which the parties would need to further address him.
He said he would not want to go ahead with the judgment without taking further address from the lawyers, lest the judgment is overturned at the Court of Appeal. The judge said he had gone through the over 600 pages of statements of accounts tendered as exhibits in the case. He ordered Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, the prosecutor, and Mr Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), the defence counsel, and Mr Ige Asemudara, to address him on the relationship between the provisions of Section 27(3)(c) and sections 72, 16 and 17 of the EFCC Establishment Act.
The parties agreed to file their addresses by Monday. The judge said he would then fix a new date for judgment. Dudafa, alongside Joseph Iwuejo, said to his account officer, was arraigned on 13 counts by the EFCC. The anti-graft agency accused them of laundering N1.6b, said to be proceeds of crime. But Dudafa, in his defence, told the court that he was not guilty of any wrongdoing. He told the court that the N1.6bn found in the account of Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited, which the EFCC linked to him, was not proceeds of fraud but part of the money donated to the Anglican Communion of Otuoke Community, Bayelsa State, to which ex-President Jonathan was a trustee. According to him, the money was for the building of the St. Stephens Youth Development Centre, Otuoke, Bayelsa State. Dudafa said following a fundraiser organised in Lagos, the ex-President instructed him to follow up with Prince Arthur Eze, who pledged $10m (about N1.8bn).
He said the ex-President asked him to look for someone in the private sector who could help to keep the $10m once Eze redeemed his pledge. Dudafa said, as a result, he got an ex-military man, Somprie Omiebi, who lodged the money in the Heritage Bank account of Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited. However, while being cross-examined by the EFCC lawyer, Oyedepo, Dudafa was presented with the statement of account of Avalon and was asked to point out if there was any money transferred from the account to the church.
Responding, Dudafa had said, “From Exhibit B (the account statement), no fund was transferred to the Anglican Communion of Otuoke Community. I can’t see it. It couldn’t have been because only the former President could have given directive on what to do.” Asked by Oyedepo to name the Bishop of the Anglican Communion of Otuoke Community, Dudafa said, “I don’t know; I only related with the former President.”