A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, on Monday, admitted to bail Mr. Warpamo Owei Emmanuel Dudafa, former Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to the former president Goodluck Jonathan.
The bail was in the sum of N500million with two sureties in like sum. The sureties are to swear to an affidavit of residence, must be landed property owners within the jurisdiction of the court and must deposit the title deeds of such properties with the Chief Registrar of the court.
Dudafa was also ordered to deposit his international passport with the court. But Iwejuo Joseph Nna (aka Taiwo Ebenezer Olugbenga Isaiah), who was arraigned alongside Dudafa, was granted bail in the sum of N250million with two sureties in like sum. The sureties are required to be landed property owners and must produce three years tax clearance and affidavit of residence. The sureties must also deposit the title documents of their landed property with the court. The court also mandated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to verify all the sureties’ documents.
Subsequently, the presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, adjourned till 4 July for the commencement of the trial of the accused persons. Dudafa and Nna were arraigned before the court on a 23 count-charge bordering on alleged conspiracy and N5.1 billion fraud by the EFCC.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the charges. After their pleas were taken, the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, urged the court to remand them in prison custody and fix a date for trial
In the criminal charge filed before the court, Dudafa and Nna, were alleged to have used different companies to steal a total sum of N5.1 billion between June 11, 2013, and June 2015.
The companies alleged to have been used in committing the alleged offences include Seagate Property Development & Investment Limited, Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited, Iwejuo Joseph Nna and Pluto LUTO Property and Investment Company Limited and Iwejuo Joseph Nna and Rotate Interlink Services Limited.
Others are Ibejige Services Limited, DE Jakes Fast Food & Restaurant Nigeria Limited and Ebiwise Resources.
In the first count, Dudafa, and Nna (a.k.a. Taiwo Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah) were accused of concealing the proceeds of crime in the sum of N 1.6 billion, an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 17(a) of the same Act.
In count 23, Dudafa, was accused of failure to provide information in relation to his interest in Ibijige Services Limited, as required on Page 12 of the Declaration of Assets Form. This is in contravention of and punishable under Section 27 (3) (c) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004.
The court then adjourned for the bail application to be argued. Arguing Dudafa’s bail application, his lawyer, Gboyega Oyewole, told the court to admit his client to bail in the most liberal terms. Oyewole told the court that his client was in EFCC’s custody for 60 days before he was charged to court, adding that the charge against his client was a bailable one, while the maximum punishment if convicted, is five years imprisonment.
He further argued that there was no complainant who has claimed that he or she is a victim of the offences his client is being charged against with.
Oyewole urged the court to discountenance EFCC’s argument that if his client were admitted to bail, he would not interfere with the witnesses and evidence in the matter. He added that exhibits attached to the charge were yet to be certified.
He, therefore, urged the court to admit his client to bail in the most liberal terms, explaining that his client is a man of substance- a former member of the Bayelsa House of Assembly and former Special Adviser to the President.
Counsel to Nna, Mr. Sunday Abumere, equally urged the court to admit the accused to bail to in the most liberal terms.
In opposing the accused persons’ bail applications, the EFCC lawyer said the commission’s opposition to bail applications was premised on the ground that the first accused was arrested by the men of Department State Security ( DSS), at the Departure Hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, as he was about boarding a flight to London.
He said the EFCC directed the DSS to place Dudafa on its watch list after he consistently evaded arrest, adding that if the accused persons were admitted to bail, it could affect those the commission wants to arrest in connection with the offence.
But after listening to the submissions of both parties, Justice Idris adjourned the ruling on bail applications till June 20, 2016.
Source: Sahara reporters