N1.6b Fraud: EFCC Appeals Acquittal of Dudafa, Iwejuo
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC], has filed a notice of appeal against the ruling of Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos which on August 29, 2019 discharged and acquitted Dudafa Warripamo-Owei, a former Special Adviser to a former president, Goodluck Jonathan, and Joseph Iwejuo, a banker, who were both being prosecuted by the EFCC for money laundering charges to the tube of N1.6billion.
They are alleged to have conspired to launder the fund through the accounts of A.B. Wise Resources Limited, Seagate Property Development and Investment Limited, Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited, Rotato Interlink Service Limited, Pluto Property and Services Limited and De-jakes fast food and Restaurant Limited. However, despite tendering several documents and presenting several witnesses the trial judge dismissed the charges ruling that the EFCC did not prove the charges against them.
But the in the notice of appeal, filed by counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, the anti-graft agency is challenging the decision to discharge the defendants of the 22-count charge brought against them, on nine grounds, arguing that the trial judge erred in his decision to absolve them of the charges
The EFCC citing Mumuni Vs State (1975) argued that the judge “failed to take to account that in proving conspiracy, evidence of the mere agreement of the parties expressed or implied is sufficient for conviction”.
Furthermore, the EFCC argued that the “trial court did not consider the admission of Dudafa in his extrajudicial statement to the effects that the money was proceeds of gifts he received from former president Goodluck Jonathan and his friend who came to visit him”, arguing further that “the documentary evidence, the admission of the respondents in their extrajudicial statements and the evidence elicited by the appellant from the respondents under cross-examination, the prosecution needs not call Sompre Omiebi, Col. Sambo Dasuki, CBN governor, Director of Finance as held by the learned trial judge “.
The EFCC noting the grave miscarriage of justice, held strongly that the trial judge “erred in law and occasioned serious miscarriage of justice by discharging and acquitting the 2nd defendant on counts 14-15” and “failed to evaluate the evidence presented by the Appellant before the Court”.
The Commission equally described as a miscarriage of justice the failure of the trial court to properly evaluate the evidence brought before the Court against Dudafa convict the defendants as charged and overrule the decision of the lower court.
Invariably, the EFCC asked the Court of Appeal to convict the defendants as charged as prescribed by the Money Laundering Act 2011 (as amended) and to overrule the lower court.