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N5.1bn fraud: Court admits Jonathan’s ex-aide’s confessional statement

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Ramon Oladimeji

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday admitted as exhibit the confessional statement made by a former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, who is being prosecuted for an alleged fraud of N5.1bn.

Justice Mohammed Idris, in a ruling on Monday, said he found that Dudafa was not coerced to make the confessional statement while in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission but that he voluntarily made the confessional statement after being duly cautioned.

The court, therefore, dismissed Dudafa’s objection to the admissibility of his confessional statement as well as an asset declaration form he filed and submitted to the EFCC.

“There is no evidence before the court that the statement made by the defendant is not a confessional statement. I cannot, therefore, hold that the statement was not voluntarily made,” Justice Idris held, while delivering his ruling at the end of a trial-within-trial to test the voluntariness of Dudafa’s statement.

Dudafa is being tried by the EFCC alongside a banker, Joseph Iwuejo, for an alleged fraud of N5.1bn.

The EFCC arraigned them on 23 counts last year but they pleaded not guilty.

At the November 21, 2016 proceedings in the case, Dudafa’s lawyer, Gboyega Oyewole, had resisted the move by the EFCC to tender his client’s statement as an exhibit in the case.

Oyewole contended that his client was coerced and induced to make the confessional statement.

But the objection was dismissed on Monday.

The EFCC is prosecuting Dudafa and Iwuejo on the allegation that they used various companies to launder various sums of money between June 2013 and June 2015.

The EFCC claimed that the money emanated from the office of the National Security Adviser then under the watch of Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).

The companies allegedly used by the defendants to perpetrate the fraud were listed as Seagate Property Development & Investment Limited; Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited; Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited; Rotate Interlink Services Limited; Ibejige Services Limited; DeJakes Fast Food & Restaurant Nigeria Limited; and Ebiwise Resources.

The offence is said to be contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable  under Section 17(a) of the same Act.

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