Tuesday, 4 September 2018

'N1.6bn Linked To Me Was For A Church Building Project' Goodluck Jonathan's Former Aide Tells Court

Waripamo-Owei Dudafa and Goodluck Jonathan

The former Senior Special Assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, today told Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, that the N1.6 billion traced to him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was proceeds of donations towards a church building project.

Dudafa stated this during his examination-in-chief by his lawyer, Mr Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), after opening his defence on the alleged fraud charge. Dudafa and his co-accused, Iwejuo Joseph Nna, were on June 11th 2016, first arraigned before the court by the EFCC on a 23-count charge of conspiracy to conceal proceeds of crime amounting to N1.6 billion.

At the resumed hearing of the case today, Dudafa told the court that the 1.6 billion the antigraft agency was investigating was part of the N6 billion realized from the launching towards the building of St. Stephen's Youth Development Centre, Otuoke, by the Anglican Communion of Otuoke community in March 2013.

"From my interactions with former President Goodluck Jonathan, I know that the funds were proceeds of a launching that was conducted by the Anglican Communion of Otuoke community for the building of St. Stephen's Youth Development Centre, Otuoke. The launching, which was done in Lagos on the 16th of March, 2013, was organized by the former President as a member of the Anglican Communion and the Grand Patron.

" About N6 billion was realized from the event. Several persons made various donations in cash and in pledges at the event, while the Chief Launcher, Prince Arthur Eze, donated $10 million (about N1.8 billion). The donation by the chief launcher was a pledge which he promised to fulfill in piecemeal." the former aide said

Dudafa added that his boss, Jonathsn, later gave him the task of following up on the promise made by Prince Eze.

"When Prince Eze started redeeming his pledge in piece meal, the former President directed that I should get somebody in the private sector that will be able to keep the fund. I then brought in a friend, Somprie Omiebi, who later opened an account with a bank in Bayelsa. The naira denominated account was opened to receive Prince Eze's money.

"Anything Prince Eze brought any money, the former president will direct that I link up with a Bureau De Change (BDC) operator who will remit the money directly to the account opened by Somprie Omiebi."

Dudafa denied having anything to do with the companies listed in the charge or even knowing the companies.

"I am not a signatory to their accounts. I am also not a director. I know Somprie Omiebi as someone in the private sector that brought those acvount s and the companies to the former president and his wife for the safekeeping of their money. Omiebi is the only person that knows the details of the various accounts," he said.

The former President's aide had earlier told the court how he was arrested at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) on the April 17, 2016, while he was accompanying his son to the United kingdom.

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