N1.7bn fraud: Court resumes trial of Jonathan’s aide

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A Federal High Court in Lagos, on Friday, adjourned until Sept. 10, the trial of former President Jonathan’s aide, Waripamo-Owen Dudafar, who is facing a charge of N1.7 billion fraud.

Dudafar, who was charged alongside former manager of Heritage Bank, Joseph Iweujo, had earlier pleaded not guilty to the 23-count charge of fraud preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

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They were alleged to have conspired to conceal N1.7 billion, proceeds they knew were from a criminal activity.

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At the resumed trial, EFCC Prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, continued the cross-examination of the first accused who was also first witness in his own defence.

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Dudafar was reminded that he was still on oath and Oyedepo began cross-examinating him, asking: “you said in your statement, exhibit ‘G,’ that you never had a contract with Bayelsa State Government?

“You signed all the pages of your statement, am I correct?”

The witness answered, “I never had a direct contract with them. I did sign, but some of the words were not mine. They were dictated to me and I was asked to sign.”

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Oyedepo later proceeded with the cross-examination, eliciting answers from the witness.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Dudafar was alleged to have siphoned the amount through different accounts in Heritage bank in the name of some companies.

EFCC is accusing them of converting N1.7 billion, themselves through Sea Gate Property Development and Investment Ltd., Avalon Global Property Development Ltd., and Ebiwise Resources.

The anti-graft agency claimed that the defendants received the money sometimes in 2016 through Pluto Property and Investment Ltd., Rotato Interlink Services Ltd., De Jakes Fast Food Restaurant Ltd., and Ibejige Services Ltd.

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The offences contravene Sections 17 (a) and 18 (c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 and Sections 27 (3) of the EFCC Act, 2004.

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