Thursday, 18 August 2016

EFCC to arraign Jonathan’s ex-aide, lawyer for $15.6m

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday filed a 17-count of alleged $15.6m fraud against a former aide of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, before a Federal High Court in Lagos.                                                                        


Also listed as defendants in the charge, filed before Justice Abdulazeez Anka, is a legal practitioner, Amajuoyi Briggs, and one Demola Bolodeoku.

The EFCC is seeking to arraigned them alongside five companies, namely: Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited; Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Limited; Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited; Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited and Globus Integrated Services Limited.

The 17 counts pressed against Dudafa, who was then Special Assistant to Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, and others bordered on conspiracy and money laundering.

The EFCC accused them of conspiring among themselves to conceal various sums of money totaling $15.6m, which the anti-grant agency claimed the defendants “ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.”

The EFCC alleged that the defendants committed the offence between November 13, 2013 and May 28, 2015 in connivance with one Sombre Omeibi, now at large, using seven accounts domiciled with Skye Bank Plc.

The offences, the EFCC, prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, said were contrary to section 18(a) and 15(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012, and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

However, the proposed arraignment of the defendants on Thursday could not hold as Oyedepo said Dudafa and the companies had yet to be served.

He informed the court that Dudafa had refused to accept the charge sheet on August 12 when the EFCC attempted to serve him in the prison custody.

He urged the court to grant him an order to properly serve the charge sheet on the accused.

He also urged the court to order the second defendant, Brigg, to accept service on behalf of the five companies, which he claimed were incorporated by the lawyer but with fictitious addresses.

He told the judge that Brigg had stated in the statement he made to the EFCC that he was the one who incorporated the companies and he was their appointed secretary.

He said, “The first defendant is a private individual, and under Section 123 of the ACJA, we are to serve him personally. We went to the prison on August 12, 2016, to serve him the charge but he refused service.

“We have charged him in a related case before Justice (Mohammed) Idris, though he was granted bail but an issue cropped up.

“I also need court order on the service of the fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth defendants; the companies were opportune to know who and who is their directors.

“In the course of investigation, we came to know that the chambers of the second defendant incorporated those companies, and in his wisdom, he inserted the addresses that are not available.

“I urged the court to allow us to serve the charge of the companies on the second accused person, being the brain behind them.”

But Brigg’s lawyer, T. J. Onyeieke, opposed Oyedepo’s prayer that his client should accept service on behalf of the companies, contending that Brigg was not a director in any of the companies.

Besides, he said Oyedepo could not make such an application orally and urged the court to turn the prayer down.

In a short ruling, Justice Anka granted the prosecution an order to serve the charge sheet on Dudafa in the prison custody.

He, however, adjourned till September 8, 2016, to rule on Oyedepo’s application to serve the companies through Brigg.