-Four Plead Guilty
A former aide to Goodluck Jonathan, Warpamo Dudafa, Thursday, appeared before a Federal High Court, Lagos charged with $15 million fraud.
Dudafa, a former Special Assistant on domestic affairs to the ex president, is charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with six others.
The accused persons are charged on 15 counts bordering on conspiracy and fraud.
Others charged with Dudafa are Amajuoyi Briggs and Adedamola Bolodeoku.
Also on the charge sheet are four companies: Pluto Properties and Investment Company, Seagate Property Development Company, Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Ltd, and Avalon Global Property Ltd.
When the case was called on Thursday, the four companies announced their representation as follows: Friday David (Pluto Properties and Investment Company) and Agbor Obaro (Sea Gate Property Development Company).
Also, Fredrick Dioghowori announced his representation for Trans Ocean Property Ltd, while Taiwo Ebenezer represented Avalon Global properties Ltd.
After the charges were read to the accused, the first, second and third accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Meanwhile, the four individuals representing the companies listed in the charge, each pleaded guilty to the offences.
Following the guilty plea of the companies, the EFCC prosecution led by Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, prayed the court to allow a short time for review of the facts, adding that he would not waste the time of the court.
The trial judge, Justice Babs Kuewumi, however, declined prosecution’s request and said he would adjourn the matter to a future date.
Meanwhile, counsel representing the second and third accused, Messrs Tochukwu Onyiuke, and Joseph Okebiemen, informed the court of a bail application filed on behalf of their clients, which had not been opposed.
They urged the court to admit the accused to bail on liberal terms.
Counsel representing the first accused, Mr Gboyega Oyewole, also informed the court that his client was already on bail on existing conditions granted by a brother judge.
He urged the court to allow his client enjoy same bail.
To this request of counsel, Kuewumi declined granting bail to the first accused and ordered him to file a formal application for bail before the court.
The court however, granted bail to the second and third accused in the sum of N250 million with one surety in like sum.
The judge added that the sureties must be owners of landed properties in Lagos, and if a public servant, such surety must produce a letter of introduction from his employer.
The judge also ordered the sureties to submit evidence of tax clearance.
He adjourned the case to Sept. 27 for continuation and ordered the accused to be remanded in prison custody pending perfection of their bail.
In the amended charge, the EFCC alleged that the accused between Nov. 13, 2013 and June 2015, used the different companies to commit the offences.
The accused were alleged to have conspired to retain over 15 million dollars, which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of crime.
The alleged offences are said to be contrary to and punishable under sections 15 (d), 17(a), 18(a), and 27 (3) (c) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004.
The offences are said to have also contravened the provisions of sections 1(2) (c), and 1(19) (6) of the Miscellaneous Offence Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation, 2004.
It also contravened the provisions of sections 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2012. (NAN)