The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has rejected the judgment of the Federal High Court in Lagos which on Thursday cleared ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s former aide, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, of the N1.6bn fraud charges pressed against him.
Barely 24 hours after Justice Mohammed Idris handed Dudafa and his co-defendant, Joseph Iwuejo, a not-guilty verdict, the anti-graft agency has approached the Court of Appeal, seeking the reversal of the verdict.
In freeing Dudafa and Iwuejo of the entire 22 counts, which the EFCC filed against them, Justice Idris had held that the anti-graft agency failed to prove the charges because it failed to call vital witnesses, which could have helped it to prove the charges.
Justice Idris said the vital witnesses, which the EFCC ought to have called but refused to call, included Jonathan, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and one Somprei Omeibi.
But in its appeal, the EFCC argued that it could not have called Jonathan, CBN governor, Dasuki and Omeibi as witnesses to prove the charges against Dudafa because they “were, at best, particeps criminis (partner in crime) in the scheme of the fraud contained in the charge.”
The EFCC contended that it did not consider those listed by the judge as vital witnesses, adding that it “was not under any legal obligation to prove facts already admitted by the respondents.”
The anti-graft also fumed that Justice Idris refused to attach any probative value to the statements made by Dudafa and Iwuejo while being interrogated by investigators.
In the appeal filed on Friday, the EFCC told the Court of Appeal that Justice Idris “erred in law and occasioned serious miscarriage of justice” in setting Dudafa and Iwuejo free.
It, therefore, urged the Court of Appeal to convict them and to impose upon them the sentence prescribed by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.