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Court frees former aide to Jonathan as EFCC fails to summon Jonathan, Dasuki as witnesses

Valentine Chinyem



A federal high court in Lagos has discharged and acquitted Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, a former senior special assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and Joseph Iwuejo, a banker, who were charged with N1.6bn fraud.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Dufada and Iwejuo before the court on 23 counts of conspiracy and concealment of crime proceeds.

The agency alleged that between June 1 and June 4, 2015, Dudafa procured Nna and Ebiwise Resources to conceal N150 million being the proceeds of crime.

Delivering judgement on Thursday, Mohammed Idris, the judge, said he found it difficult to convict the ex-presidential aide and the banker because the EFCC failed to prove the charges against them “beyond reasonable doubts”.

The judge held that the EFCC failed to call witnesses including Jonathan, one Somprei Omeibi, Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser, who were essential to the prosecution.

“Why did the prosecution fail to call Sompre Omiebi to testify?” the judge asked.

He held that failure to call the witnesses to testify contributed to the commission’s inability to prove its case.

He said the case was “based on suspicions”, adding that it “cannot take the place of legal evidence”.

The judge also held that the prosecution tried “its best to prove the case”, but failed to carry out thorough investigation against the defendants.

Idris, therefore, dismissed the 22-count charge against Dudafa and Iwuejo.