The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Monday accused a bank branch manager in Yenegoa, the Bayelsa State capital, of helping former Senior Special Assistant to ex-President Gooluck Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, to hide stolen funds.
The commission, through its counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, stated this in its written address in opposition to Dudafa’s no case submission.
The EFCC arraigned Dudafa and Iwejuo Joseph Nna before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos on 23-counts of conspiracy to conceal proceeds of crime amounting to over N1.6bn on June 11, 2013.
The prosecution closed its case on March 16, but the defendants opted to make a no-case submission.
Praying for the dismissal of Dudafa’s no-case submission, Oyedepo urged the court to direct him to open his defence.
The prosecuting counsel said it was not in doubt that the EFCC had established the essential ingredient of the offence of conspiracy against the defendants considering the testimonies of the seven prosecution witnesses and exhibits tendered.
Oyedepo said: “My Lord, the evidence on record shows clearly that the first defendant (Dudafa) was appointed by the Federal Government of Nigeria as the Senior Special Assistant to the President –Domestic/Household and Social Events between the years 2012-2015.
“The evidence on record shows that in the course of this service, huge sums of money which are not the first defendant’s salary and allowances were traced to accounts which he procured the second defendant (Nna) to open, maintain and operate in fictitious names.
“The second defendant, who at the material time was the Branch manager in Yenogoa branch of Heritage Bank, acceded to the request of the first defendant and agreed with him to conceal these funds in the accounts opened in the name of Seagate Property Development and Investment Ltd, Avalon Global Property Development Company Ltd, Ebiwise Resources, Pluto Property and Investment Company Ltd, Rotato Interlink Services Ltd and De Jakes Fast Food and Restaurant Nigeria Ltd.”
Oyedepo argued that the evidence on record established a prima facie case that the funds were received in foreign currencies from Dudafa by Murtala Bashir Abubakar through the state house staff.
He said Abubakar thereafter converted the currencies to naira and credited the accounts nominated by Dudafa “in grand conspiracy with the second defendant.”
“It is our humble submission that the defendants’ agreement or the meeting of the minds of the defendants to conceal the funds in the accounts where the second defendant must of necessity assume the identity of other persons is a clear manifestation of the defendants’ conspiracy to carry out an unlawful act to wit: concealing proceeds of unlawful act.
“We, therefore, urge my lord to hold that the prosecution has made out a case of conspiracy against the defendants as alleged in counts 1,” Oyedepo said.
The EFCC said Dudafa allegedly used his position or office as the SSA to the former president to confer unfair advantage on himself “by enriching himself with huge sums of money which are warehoused and fraudulently concealed in the various accounts managed by the second defendant on behalf of the applicant.”
The court adjourned till June 19 to hear the no-case submission application.