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Absence of EFCC’s prosecutor stalls Dudafa’s trial

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Waripamo-Owei Dudafa

The absence of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecutor on Wednesday in Lagos stalled the ongoing trial of Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, a former Senior Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

Dudafa is standing trial at a Federal High Court, Lagos, over alleged concealment of 15.5 million dollars (about N4.8 billion) which the former Nigeria’s First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan, has laid claim to.

He was charged alongside two others, a lawyer, Amajuoyi Briggs, a senior staff of Skye Bank , Adedamola Bolodeoku, and four companies.

The four companies are Pluto Property Development Company Ltd, Seagate Property Development Company Ltd, Transocean Property Development Company Ltd, and Avalon Property Development Company Ltd.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, the court informed the defendants that the EFCC prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, had written a letter seeking for an adjournment.

The letter stated that the prosecutor was on a national assignment outside the court’s jurisdiction.

Responding to the EFCC’s letter, Dudafa’s counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole, said it was an “unfortunate situation” for the defendants.

He said if the defendants had acted that way, EFCC would have accused both the court and the defence of delaying the proceedings.

“Rotimi Oyedepo is not the only lawyer in EFCC, the commission has the largest lawyers’ chamber in Nigeria. It is an unfortunate situation, and I urge the court not to grant the application.”

Also, counsel to the second defendant, Mr Ige Asemudara, said he was surprised that the prosecutor would not be in court because of a “national assignment” which was not well explained. He, therefore, urged the court not to grant the application.

Counsel to the third defendant and the four companies, Mr Joseph Okobieme and Mr Jeff Kadri agreed with the submissions of the first and second defendants.

The lawyers urged the court not to grant the adjournment, but to dismiss the charge against the defendants.

In his ruling, Justice Babs Kuewumi, said the court would adjourn the case in the interest of justice.He fixed Sept 13 for continuation of trial.

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