Wednesday, August 10, 2016 2:24 pm
Three companies alleged to have been used to perpetrate N1.5billion fraud by a former Senior Special Assistant to president Goodluck Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Mr. Warpamo Owei Emmanuel Dudafa, were, on 9 August, arraigned before a Federal high court in Lagos,south west Nigeria.
The three companies are: Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Limited, and Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited. Alongside the three companies is one Sombre Omeibi, who is said to be at large. The anti-graft agency in the charge, filed before the court, alleged that the defendants on or before November 13, 2013 conspired among themselves to indirectly retain the total sum of $15. 6 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.
According to EFCC prosecutor Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, the offences alleged to have been committed by the accused companies are contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2012, and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.
However, there was mild drama when the three men, namely; Agbo Micheal, Friday Davis, and one Fredrick, presented by EFCC as the directors of the companies, who had earlier pleaded guilty to the charges, changed their pleas, denied having any relationship with the accused companies.
One of the three men, Friday Davis, whom the Commission said his name was used for registering Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and also used to open bank accounts for the company, denied being a director in the company.
Friday told the court that it is true that he was a driver to the first accused person in the charge, Mr. Sombre Omeibi, but said he did not have the knowledge that his name and passport photograph were used to commit the alleged offence.
He further told the court that he became aware of the company and the account when he was taken to the Commission (EFCC Office), where the allegations were made against him. He consequently denied the charge and changed his plea to not guilty. The other two persons equally denied having any relationship or knowledge of the accused companies.
Prior to the changing of the plea of the three men, the prosecution witness, Mr. Abraham Tukura, called by the EFCC during the review of fact of the charge, had informed the court that the three men had stated in their statement that they were not directors of the companies, and that they never gave out their passport photographs for registration of any company or opening of account at any bank for the accused companies.
Upon the evidence given by the prosecution witness, and the three men’s statements, the presiding judge, Justice AbdulAziz Anka, declined to pronounce the three companies guilty as requested by the prosecutor, on the ground that there were no link between those presented by the Commission (EFCC) as the alta ego to the accused companies and the companies.
Following the change of plea of the three men, the prosecutor, Mr. Oyedepo urged the court for adjournment for the trial of the the case. Consequently, Justice Anka adjourned the matter till Thursday 11th August, 2016
It would be recalled that Dadufa, a Senior Special Assistant to former President Jonathan, and two other accused persons, Joseph Nna who is also known as Taiwo Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah, are standing trial before Justice Mohammed Idris, of a Lagos division of the Federal High Court over an alleged N5.1 billion fraud.
They were alleged to have used the three accused companies and others to perpetrate the alleged offence between June 11, 2013, and June 2015.