N5.1 billion fraud: Court concludes trial-within-trial of ex-aide to Jonathan, Dudafa

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A Federal High Court Lagos has concluded trial-within-trial in the alleged N5.1billion fraud charge brought against Warampo Owei-Dudafa, an ex-aide of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had arraigned Mr. Dudafa alongside Joseph Iwejuo on 23 counts bordering on conspiracy and concealment of crime proceeds.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The judge had ordered the conduct of the trial-within-trial to determine whether the statements written by Mr. Dudafa and his co-accused at the commission’s office were voluntarily made or not.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, Mr. Iwejuo concluded his evidence, insisting that his statements at the EFCC’s office were written under duress.

Under cross-examination by EFCC’s lawyer, Idris Mohammed, the accused said that even though he was granted administrative bail by the commission while in its custody, he was never allowed to go home.

He said: “On the second day of my detention at EFCC’s office, I was told I will be given administrative bail and I asked my family to arrange for a lawyer for me to hasten the process.

“One lawyer, Mr Johnson, eventually came and he had some discussions with an EFCC’s investigator, Mr Orji, on how to perfect my bail, but Orji told him that I can never be released because I will run away if I should regain my freedom and the lawyer eventually left in annoyance”.

A request by Mr. Iwejuo’s lawyer, Sunday Abumere, for an adjournment to allow him invite his last witness was turned down by the court which fixed April 6, for parties to adopt their written addresses.

Mr. Dudafa was arraigned alongside Mr. Iwejuo, also known as Taiwo Ebenezer, and Olugbenga Isaiah by the EFCC on a 23-count charge of alleged N5.1 billion fraud.

Some of the companies allegedly used by the duo in committing the offences include Seagate Property Development, Investment Ltd, Avalon Global Property Development Company Ltd, Pluto Property and Investment Company Ltd and Rotate Interlink Services Ltd.

Others are Ibejige Services Ltd, DE Jakes Fast Food, Restaurant Nigeria Ltd and Ebiwise Resources.

(NAN)