Alleged N1.6bn Fraud: EFCC Re-arraigns Jonathan’s ex-aide Dudafa

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Alleged N1.6bn Fraud: EFCC Re-arraigns Jonathan’s ex-aide Dudafa

Alleged N1.6bn Fraud: EFCC Re-arraigns Jonathan’s ex-aide Dudafa
November 17
04:10 2018

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday re-arraigned former President Goodluck Jonathan’s ex-aide Dr Waripamo-Owei Dudafa for alleged N1.6 billion fraud.

He was re-arraigned with a banker, Iwejuo Joseph.

EFCC said they conspired to conceal proceeds of crime amounting to N1.6 billion on June 11, 2013.

Their re-arraignment followed the prosecution’s amendment of the charge.

EFCC first arraigned Dudafa and Joseph on June 11, 2016 on a 23-count charge.

Before the defendants were re-arraigned, Justice Mohammed Idris had dismissed their objections to the amended 22 count charge.

Dudafa and Joseph pleaded not guilty and were allowed to continue on bail earlier granted them.

After their re-arraignment, the defence informed the court that they would need to re-call some witnesses.

EFCC lawyer Mr Rotimi Oyedepo said they were at liberty to recall any of the prosecution witnesses.

Dudafa’s lawyer Gboyega Oyewole (SAN) had on Thursday urged Justice Idris to strike out the amended charge.

Arguing a notice of preliminary objection, Oyewole said the amendment would prejudice his client’s case.

The SAN argued that Justice Idris, who was elevated to the Court of Appeal, lacked jurisdiction to allow the amendment as his fiat only empowered him to conclude part-heard cases.

He said EFCC filed the amended charge after probably realising that there were loopholes in its case.

But Oyedepo said the case would not be start de-novo (afresh) because the prosecution would not call any more witnesses.

Ruling yesterday, Justice Idris held that an amendment was permissible by law at any time before judgment.

“Section 396(7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, allows the court to conclude part-heard matters within reasonable time, and I have no doubt that this falls within the ambit of the law.

“This court is sitting pursuant to a flat, and this fiat is not open-ended, but will expire after its time.

“The defendants are at liberty to call or recall any witness in the case; in my opinion, a reasonable time is when the time for justice does not wear out against the parties, but is seen to be done,” Justice Idris held.

The prosecution closed its case on March 16, but the accused opted to make a no-case submission in its defence.

Justice Idris had dismissed the no-case submission and ordered them to open their defence.

The defence had closed its case and filed written addresses before the re-arraignment.

Justice Idris adjourned until Monday for trial.

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