The Senior Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, on Tuesday denied having any transaction with the Office of National Security Adviser or Central Bank of Nigeria. Dudafa made the statement before a Federal High Court, Lagos, during his examination-in-chief. He was led in evidence by his counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole (SAN). Dudafa was arraigned alongside a banker, Joseph Iwejuo, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on June 11, 2016 on a 23-count charge bordering on money laundering and conspiracy to conceal proceeds of crime worth N1.6 billion. He said he had no relationship whatsoever with any government official during his tenure as the former president’s aide.
“I only looked after the residence of the former president and ran errands for him,” Dudafa said. The former president’s aide said his failure to fill the assets declaration form while in EFCC detention was due to the commission’s refusal to state the nature of his offences and the denial of his right to a lawyer. He added that he did not fill the asset declaration form because he was not a public officer as he was not paid salary from the public accounts.
He told the court that the payments in his accounts was part of the donations made by Prince Arthur Eze to Otueke Anglican Communion for the building of Saint Stephen Deaconry and youth development centre in Bayelsa State. Dudafa claimed that between 2005 and 2011, he made between N5 million and N7 million as daily turnover from his fast food business, De Jakes Fast Food, before his appointment to the former president. However, during cross-examination by EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Dudafa confirmed that he received a cumulative sum of 10 million dollars from Prince Eze, in the presence of the former president between 2013 and 2015.
He insisted that the proceeds of the donations for the church projects were paid into his private companies’ accounts. The defendant denied knowing anyone called Jide Ofor, who was alleged to have paid the sum of N41.85 million into his account. When also asked of his relationship with some companies that made payments for his house at Chevron Estate, Lekki, Dudafa denied having any house in Lekki. He said that the only house he had in Lagos was at Sangotedo, at Lekki-Ajah axis of the state. The defendant told the court that the statements he made while in custody of the anti-graft agency were made under duress. Dudafa said that he was made to understand that making the statements would be the only option to guaranty his freedom. Justice Mohammed Idris, adjourned further hearing until Sept. 7 for continuation of cross-examination. (NAN)
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