Monday, June 20, 2016 12:50 pm
By Akin Kuponiyi
A Federal high court sitting in Lagos south west Nigeria today admitted to bail the former Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to the former president Goodluck Jonathan, Warpamo Owei Emmanuel Dudafa, to bail in the sum of N500 million with two sureties in like sum. The sureties are to swear to affidavit of residence, they must also be landed property owners within the jurisdiction of the court, the title deed of such properties must be deposited with the Chief Registrar of the court. He was also ordered to deposit his international passport with the court.
However, the second accused, Iwejuo Joseph, a.k.a Taiwo Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah who were arraigned alongside Dudafa were granted bail in the sum of N250million with two sureties in like sum. The sureties must also be a landed property owners and must produce three years tax clearance with affidavit of residence. The sureties must also deposit the title documents of their landed property with the court. Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) was mandated to verify all the documents of the sureties.
Thereafter, the presiding Judge Mohammed Idris adjourned till 4th of July for trial of the accused persons to commence.
The the two accused, Dudafa and Iwejo Joseph, were arraigned before the court on 23 count-charge bordering on alleged conspiracy and N5.1 billion fraud, by the EFCC.
The two accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the counts charge. Consequently upon their pleas, 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 by Rotimi Oyedepo, it was alleged that Dudafa, and Joseph Nna, who also claimed to be Taiwo Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah, had between June 11, 2013, and June 2015, used different companies to fraudulently steal total sum of
The companies alleged to have been used in committing the alleged offences are, Seagate Property Development & Investment Limited, Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited; Iwejuo Joseph Nna and Pluto LUTO Property and Investment Company Limited; Iwejuo Joseph Nna and Rotate Interlink Services Limited.
Others include; Ibejige Services Limited; DE Jakes Fast Food & Restaurant Nigeria Limited; and Ebiwise Resources.
The count one of the charge read in parts; “that you,Warpamo Owei Emmanuel Dudafa, and Iwejuo Joseph Nna (a.k.a. Taiwo Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah), on or about the 11th day of June, 2013 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: Concealing the proceeds of crime in the sum of N 1, 667,162,800.00 (One Billion, Six Hundred and Sixty Seven Million, One Hundred and Sixty Two Thousand, Eight Hundred Naira), and you thereby committed 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.”while
Count 23 reads; “That you, Warpamo Owei Emmanuel Dudafa, on April 27, 2016 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court failed to furnish any information in relation to your interest in Ibijige Services Limited as required in page 12 of the Declaration of Assets Form and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 27 (3) (c) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004.
Tbe alleged offences are contrary to and punishable under sections 17(a), 18(c), and 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 Dafuda’s bail application, his lawyer, Gboyega Oyewole, told the court to admit his client to bail in the most liberal term.
Oyewole told the court that his client was in the 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.
He further argued that there was no complainant who has claimed that he or she is a victim of the offence which his client is being charge against with.
He urged the court to discountenance the Commission’s argument that if his client is admitted to bail he will not interfere with the witness and evidence while adding exhibits attached to the charge are not certified. He therefore urged the court to admit his client to bail in the most liberal terms.
He added that his client is a man of substance who was once a member of Balyesa House of Assembly, a Special Advice to Balyesa State Government, and Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Counsel to the second accused person, Joseph Nna who is also known as Taiwo Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah, Mr. Sunday Abumere, while aligned himself with the lawyer to Dafuda equally urged the court to admit the accused to bail to h in the most liberal terms.
In opposing the accused persons’ bail applications, EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, said the Commission’s opposition to bail applications was premise on the ground that the first accused was arrested by the men of Department of State Security, DSS, at the departure Hall of Murtala Muhammad International Airport, where he was to board an Arik Airline to London.
He said the Commission directed the DSS to place Dafuda on watchlist after he consistently evades arrest.
He also told the court that if the accused persons were admitted to bail, such could affect those the Commission wanted to arrest in connection with the offence.
However, the presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Idris after listening to the submission of both parties, adjourned the ruling on bail applications till today June 20,2016.
The author of this story Mr Akin Kuponiyi can be reached at [email protected]