Ex-Domestic Aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, on Monday, denied that the N1.6bn found in his accounts was his money but meant to build a church.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had alleged that the money was suspected to be proceeds of crime.
But Dudafa told a Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday that the money was donations from individuals for a church building project in Otuoke, Jonathan’s hometown.
Dudafa, who opened his defence in a N1.6bn fraud charge instituted by the EFCC, said the money was part of a N6bn realised from a launching for the building of St. Stephen’s Youth Development Centre.
The launching, which held in Lagos on March 16, 2013, was organised by Jonathan as the grand patron of the Anglican Communion.
“From my interactions with former president Goodluck Jonathan, I know that the funds were proceeds of a launching that was conducted by the Anglican Communion of Otuoke community for the building of St. Stephen’s Youth Development Centre, Otuoke,” the former senior special assistant on domestic affairs to Mr Jonathan said, while being led in evidence by his lawyer, Gboyega Oyewole.
“About N6bn was realised from the event. Several persons made various donations in cash and in pledges at the event while the chief launcher, Prince Arthur Eze, donated $10 million (about N1.8 billion).”
Dudafa said Mr Eze’s donation was actually a pledge which he promised to redeem in batches.
He added that Jonathan subsequently mandated him to follow up on Eze to ensure he redeems his pledge.
“When Prince Eze started redeeming his pledge in piece-meal, the former president directed that I should get somebody in the private sector that will be able to keep the fund.
“I then brought in a friend, Somprie Omiebi, who later opened an account with a bank in Bayelsa. The naira denominated account was opened to receive Prince Eze’s money.
“Anytime Prince Eze brought any money, the former president will direct that I link up with a Bureau De Change (BDC) operator who will remit the money directly to the account opened by Somprie Omiebi. Dudafa denied having anything to do with the companies listed in the charge or even knowing the companies.
“I am not a signatory to their accounts. I am also not a Director. I know Somprie Omiebi as someone in the private sector that brought those accounts and the companies to the former president and his wife for the safekeeping of their money.
“Omiebi is the only person that knows the details of the various accounts.”
Dudafa, alongside Joseph Iwejuo, is facing a 23-count charge of conspiracy to conceal proceeds of crime amounting to N1.6bn
The EFCC alleged that the accused persons between June 2013 and June 2015, used different companies to fraudulently launder the said money.