Former Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan, on Domestic Affairs, Dr. Waripamo-Owei Emmanuel Dudafa was, on Friday, re-arraigned on a 22 counts amended charge filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged N1.6 billion fraud.
Dudafa was re-arraigned alongside Iwejuo Joseph Nna.
The two Defendants retook their pleas on the amended charge dated November 9, 2018, after Justice Mohammed Idris had ruled that the Prosecution could amend charges before judgment of any case.
Delivering ruling either to allow the amended charge or to dismiss it, Justice Idris held that an amendment was permissible by law at any time before judgment, adding that once there is an amendment, the accused are expected to plead to same.
“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, and the trial will begin de novo before another judge.
“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 ruled.
Following the court’s ruling on the amended charge, Ademola Adefolaju and Mr. Olusegun Ehuwa, Counsels to the first and second Defendants, pleaded with the court for an adjournment to enable their principals, Mr. Gboyega Oyewole (SAN) and Ige Asemudara, be in court when the pleas of the defendants would be taken.
But their request was turned down and the Presiding Judge ordered that the amended charge be read to the Defendants for their pleas to be taken.
Both Dudafa and Nna, however, pleaded not guilty to the amended charge.
The matter has been adjourned till Monday 19, for continuation of trial.
In the charge, EFCC alleged that the accused on June 11, 2013, conspired to conceal the sum of N1.6billion, which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of unlawful act.
The offences contravenes the provisions of sections 15 (2), 15(3), and 18 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2012.
The EFCC had sometimes last year arraigned the defendants on 23 counts charge of offences bordering on conspiracy to conceal the sum of N1.667, 162, 800 billion, which was allegedly form parts of proceed of unlawful act.
Dudafa was particularly charged for taken possession of some amount of money without going through financial institutions. And failure to furnish any information in relation to some monies in some companies.
While Nna was alleged to have forged some cheques, which were used to induced to debit the companies linked to Dudafa.
Upon conclusion of prosecution’s case, the defendants opted for no case submission and it was refused by the court, while they were ordered to open their defence.