EFCC Files Notice Of Appeal, Says Court Was Wrong To Free Jonathan’s Aide Dufada

Barely 24 hours after the Federal High Court freed Waripamo Owei-Dudafa, an aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, and a banker, Iwejuo Joseph, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have formally filed its notice of appeal challenging the judgment.

The notice of appeal which is pursuant to Section 241 (1) (a) of the 1999 Constitution, is premised on nine grounds of appeal.

It lists the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the appellant and Dudafa and Iwejuo as respondents.

In the first round, the EFCC Prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo said the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris erred in law by discharging and acquitting the respondents on counts of conspiracy.

In the particulars of the notice, Justice Idris was said to have failed to bind himself with the age-long principle of law which provides that conspiracy is complete upon agreement.

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Dudafa and Iwejuo in their defence had both stated that they did not know each other until the time of their arrest. But the EFCC says following the age-long principle, it is settled law that once a conspiracy has come into existence other conspirators may join in at a later stage and it is not necessary for the conspirators to know themselves or the full extent of the scheme to which a conspirator has joined himself.

The Commission also says that the judge also departed from the settled position of law that “confession alone is sufficient to support a conviction without corroboration so long as the court is satisfied of the truth of the confession”.

Justice Idris was said to have failed to consider and ascribe any probative value to any of the evidence adduced by the two respondents establishing a meeting of the mind, which constitutes the conspiracy to carry out the unlawful act of concealing proceeds of crime.

The EFCC is, therefore, seeking an order of the court convicting the respondents as charged and sentencing them as prescribed by the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended and the EFCC Act of 2004.

N1.6bn Alleged Fraud: Court Frees Jonathan’s Ex-Aide Dudafa

Dudafa Says Statements Made To EFCC Were Forced
FILE PHOTO: Waripamo Owei-Dudafa

 

A former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Waripamo Owei-Dudafa has been discharged and acquitted by a Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos on an alleged N1.6billion fraud charge.

Justice Mohammed Idris in a 190-page judgment on Thursday held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to prove any of the 22-charge beyond reasonable doubt against Owei-Dudafa and a Heritage Bank staff, Joseph Iwejuo.

Justice Idris held that EFCC’s case was “based on suspicions” and suspicions “cannot take the place of legal evidence.”

Justice Idris also held that the EFCC failed to call vital witnesses, like Jonathan, the former NSA Sambo Dasuki, and even the CBN governor, and such failure was fatal to the case of the EFCC.

READ ALSO: Court Fixes Date To Hear Final Forfeiture Of Diezani’s $40m Jewellery

The judge held that a particular vital witness, Sompre Omeibi, who could have linked the defendants to the offences, was not summoned to testify.

He also said the prosecution failed to carry out a proper investigation as the EFCC did not conclude its investigation before rushing to court, thereby leaving loopholes.

Justice Idris, therefore, dismissed the entire 22 counts charge against Dudafa and Iwuejo.

In a swift reaction, the EFCC Prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo has indicated that the Commission will study the judgment as there legal grounds to challenge same.

The EFCC had accused the defendants of concealing the N1.6billion through a company, Seagate Property Development and Investment Limited, an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 17(a).

They have also accused them of knowingly concealing proceeds of crime through Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited amounting to N399,470,000.00, among others.

EFCC said Dudafa, between June 1 and June 4, 2015, “procured” Iwejuo and Ebiwise Resources to conceal N150 million, being proceeds of crime.

Other companies allegedly used in laundering the money include Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited, Rotato Inter Link Services Limited and De Jakes Fast Food and Restaurant Nigerian Limited.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Olakunrin’s Murder: Killing Of Innocent Nigerians Is Terrorism, Says Jonathan

 

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has condemned the murder of Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Afenifere’s National Leader, Reuben Fasoranti.

Jonathan, during a condolence visit to Fasoranti at his Ondo State residence on Tuesday, said Olakunrin’s death was painful and an act of terrorism.

He described the killing of innocent Nigerians as an act of terrorism, noted that the rate was becoming worrisome.

READ  ALSO: Olakunrin’s Murder: Presidency Warns Against Politicising Killings

“Every generation of human being faces problems and that generation must find ways of solving that problem,” the former president said.

He added, “Every government faces some unique problems. Insecurity has been with us immediately after the civil war.

“That was the first time we experienced armed robbery in Lagos. From armed robbery, it graduated to kidnapping.”

The former president called for the setting up of a separate government agency that will handle the security challenges facing Nigeria.

He traced the history of criminal activities in Nigeria, saying, “The first major kidnapping was described as commercial kidnapping because some money exchanged hands. This happened in 2006 when I was governor of Bayelsa State.

“From commercial kidnapping, it moved to terrorism in the North and now some kind of terrorist attacks are all over the country when people will just come out of the road and spray bullets on innocent people. That is a terrorist attack.

“You have no reason to attack somebody you don’t even know, that is terrorism.”

According to him, every generation and government usually face various challenges which would need to be tackled with diverse approaches.

He called for collaboration between the Federal and the state governments to address the incessant killings in the country.

Implement Recommendations Of 2014 National Conference, Jonathan Tells Buhari

Former President Goodluck Jonathan speaks at the at the book presentation of Senator Femi Okurounmu he chaired at the University of Lagos on Thursday, July 11, 2019.

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to implement the recommendations of the 2014 national conference.

Speaking on Thursday at the book presentation of Senator Femi Okurounmu he chaired at the University of Lagos, the former President believes that the nation’s major challenges can be addressed effectively if the report of the conference is executed.

Jonathan said his administration would have implemented the report of the confab but due to political and timing issues it was impossible for him

READ ALSO: Buhari Asks Senate To Confirm Tanko Mohammad As CJN

He also warned that for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be credible in conducting elections, top officials of the agency must not be appointed by politicians.

Jonathan, who said that the full implementation of the report would require an amendment of parts of the 1999 Constitution, however, warned that it was not a thing to be rushed.

He also said democracy was key to achieving the dreams of the people, noting that the electoral process should be credible.

SERAP Reacts As Court Orders Release Of Payment Details For Runway Electricity Contractors

SERAP Threatens To Sue UI, AAUA Over Increased Fees

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has reacted to last Friday’s judgment of the Federal High court in Lagos, which ordered the immediate release of details of payments to all defaulting and allegedly corrupt electricity contractors and companies by the governments of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’adua, Goodluck Jonathan, and the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement by its deputy director, Mr. Kolawole Oluware, SERAP says, “we welcome the ground-breaking judgment by Justice Obiozor as a victory for transparency and accountability of public officials, electrical contractors and companies and their shareholders. It is an extremely important step toward tackling the impunity in the electricity sector, which has for many years forced ordinary Nigerians to stay in darkness, but still made to pay crazy electricity bills.”

READ ALSO: Nigeria, Benin Sign Landmark African Trade Accord At African Union Summit

The statement further provides the details as ordered by the court to be disclosed and widely published on a dedicated website to include information on: specific names and details about contractors and companies paid by each government, the total amounts paid by each government and the objects for the payments, the level of implementation of electricity projects, as well as details and specific locations of projects executed across the country by each government since 1999.

SERAP, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to demonstrate his commitment to the rule of law by immediately obeying and respecting the judgment of the court.

Below is a full statement by SERAP.

Public Statement Court orders release of details of payments to runaway electricity contractors by OBJ, Yar’Adua, GEJ, Buhari (1)

 

Jonathan, Obasanjo Absent At Buhari’s Inauguration

 

Former Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Olusegun Obasanjo were absent at the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term on Wednesday.

Also absent at the Eagle Square, Abuja, where the ceremony held was former Military President Ibrahim Babangida.

While the three former heads of government were absent at what the government had said would be a low-key inauguration ceremony, former military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (retd) was among other prominent Nigerians, diplomats, top government officials, and politicians at the ceremony.

Read Also: President Buhari Sworn In For Second Term

Acting Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mohammed Tanko, administered the oath of office to the President at 10:42 am, shortly after Vice President Yemi Osinbajo took his oath of office.

Based on the Constitution, the President swore that as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria he would discharge his duties to the best of his ability, faithfully and in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law, and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He also swore that he would preserve the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that he would not allow his personal interest to influence his official conduct or official decisions.

Wednesdays ceremony was also witnessed by members of the first families including the wives of the President Buhari and Osinbajo, Aisha and Dolapo, respectively.

Confidence Building Measures Will Sustain Nigeria’s Democracy – Jonathan

 

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has declared that if democracy must endure, the democratic process must be developed in a way that people will have confidence in the electoral process.

This is as Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike said that the problems of Nigeria are self-inflicted as they flow from politicization of everything and the promotion of pervasive injustice.

The Former President Spoke at a Lecture/Book Presentation to mark the Second Term Inauguration of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike in Port Harcourt on Monday.

Jonathan stated that despite the challenges, the country must embrace electronic voting. He said that Electronic voting is the ultimate going forward.

He noted that the African Continent must come up with a minimum standards for the establishment of the Election Management Body. Jonathan said for the purpose of confidence building for credible elections, no one single person should have the power to constitute the Election Management Body.

He said: “We must come up with new standards for constituting our election management body in a way that people will have confidence. I believe in some Quarters what they do is that a body of people constitute the Election Management Body. It is not in the hands of one person.

“When you leave such responsibility in the hands of a politician, no matter how good the person is, there will be the tendency for people to suspect that the right thing is not done. When people don’t have confidence in the system, whatever they do, it is difficult for the people to accept “.

READ ALSO: Alleged $40m Fraud: Court Acquits Goodluck Jonathan’s Cousin

He added: “The continental body , African Union , should come up with a minimum standard across Africa for constituting Electoral Management Body “.

He added that no single official should have the power to appoint all the Election Petition Tribunals as this erodes confidence in the system.

“Also, the Judicial Process where one person constitutes all the election Tribunals to hear petitions is not right. It is difficult in a democracy for somebody to be extremely neutral. In one way or the other, somebody close to you will be in one party or the other. The only way to be above is to make sure that one person does not have all the powers to constitute tribunals to listen to all cases”, he said.

The Former Nigerian President called for the enthronement of independent security agencies that will provide security during elections. He decried the online video in Rivers State where women were dragging soldiers attempting to compromise Rivers elections.

“The African Union must come up with a code of conduct for security operatives that participate in elections. What happened in Rivers State, in a video being circulated where women were dragging soldiers down from walls was a very sorry sight. When these things are being discussed outside the country, if you are a Nigerian, you feel so ashamed “.

The Former President called on Parliamentarians to work towards modifying National Laws to ensure that what happened in 2019 is not repeated in 2023.

He congratulated the people of Rivers State for their total support of Governor Wike during the elections.

The Former President said that the Rivers election was a star election in 2019, as it was used to assess the elections.

“Governor Wike stood firmly. He was courageous. He was a good leader. I urge you to continue with your good works.

“If you did not impress Rivers people, you wouldn’t have received support. Wike tried. He brought unity and physical development to the state”, Jonathan said.

In his address, Governor Wike decried the level of politicisation of the governance process of the country.

He said: “Although I lack the intellectual impetus to join issues with the learned Professor, but for me, Nigeria’s problems, which are largely self-inflicted, can be reduced to two: the politicization of everything and pervasive injustice.

“Over the years, we have allowed the entire governing system to be been corrupted by banal politics and the courage to do what is right and fair to all parts of the country had since departed.

“As a result, we are increasingly become insensitive or rather impervious to the injustices and the horrific happenings in our country that have reduced our humanity”.

Governor Wike said that insecurity continues to thrive in the country because the nation has refused to listen to the cries for Justice.

He said: “In our case, everyone is crying out for justice and because we’ve as a nation blocked our ears and hearts to the deafening cries for justice, peace has become a rare commodity in our country. a rare commodity.

“My take is that we are going nowhere as a country; we will continue to run round in circles and possibly crash-land in a very hard way unless we change our narratives about justice because peace or peaceful co-existence cannot be decreed in a multi-cultural society such as ours, or in any society at all. It is only a real sense of justice that can command and guarantee enduring peace, patriotism and solidarity in Nigeria”.

The Governor said that he was persuaded to approve the writing of the book because books document and educate people for the development of the society.

He said: ” The essence of this book as captured by the short side of the title: Excellence in Governance, is truly captivating. I think, “excellence” as opposed to “perfection” in governance is attainable if leaders care about how posterity would judge them after office.

“However, since excellence in governance is not a term of art , how can it be measured in relation to the burden of leadership? Is it by simply making comparisons between governments, past and present? Or by how and to what positive extent the government of the day responded to the public issues, challenges and opportunities of the time?”

Governor Wike lauded the quality of discourse in the book, which he said promotes good governance without any form of sycophancy.

He said: “I have been managing people and resources as Governor of Rivers State for four years and it is only proper for stakeholders to start to dispassionately interrogate our performance in office, the quality of our leadership and the extent to which we have delivered public services from different perspectives.

“This book is therefore, a pioneering effort in this regard from the socio-legal perspective, which I consider very uplifting because it is not about self-serving opportunistic claims to the high moral ground nor the product of sycophantic image laundry and patronage.

” Against this background, I have no hesitation in identifying wholly with this book and commend both the editors and the contributors for their highly informative and logical arguments that elevated the legal discourse round the contemporary relationship between law, leadership and creativity in governance”.

Guest Lecturer, Professor Anya O. Anya in a paper titled: “Re-imagining Nigeria: The Imperative of Democracy, values, peace and National Development in the New Nigeria ” said Nigeria is a country under siege and its people and leaders are in denial.

He said: “We are at a stage where most nations are in dynamic state; where change is the order of the day. The rules of linear progression in social and economic evolution have given way to a situation where interactive forces act as interconnected matrices”.

Anya said ultimately the forces of peace will prevail despite the insecurity in different parts of the country.

He said God will manifest in the end on behalf of Nigerians and stop the high level of insecurity. He urged Governor Wike to continue to work for the peace of Rivers State and Nigeria.

Book Reviewer, Prof M. T. Ladan recommended the book to all students of law and politics, because it captures the need for the development of Nigeria by examining the outstanding qualities of Governor Wike.

He said the book was written by 51 authors with 40 chapters and 735 pages. He said the lawyers who wrote the book documented the delivery of democracy dividends in Rivers State.

Book Presenter and Representative of Sokoto State Governor, Engr Bello Alhaji Suleiman described Governor Wike as a true leader who will play a key role in the future of the country.

He said Governor Wike has written his name in the sands of time by his superlative performance as chronicled in the book.

Chairman of Inauguration Committee and Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Austin Opara said that the event is part of the programme to herald

Alleged $40m Fraud: Court Acquits Goodluck Jonathan’s Cousin

 

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has discharged and acquitted, Mr Robert Azibaola, a cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan on the $40m fraud charges filed against him by the Federal government.

In a judgment delivered on Monday, Justice Dimgba discharged the defendant from the two charges on the grounds that the prosecution failed to prove its claim of money laundering against the defendant.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had filed a suit against Mr Azibaola and his company, One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited on two charges bordering on money laundering to the tune of $40m.

He was alleged to have received the said sum from the detained former National Security Adviser retired colonel, Sambo Dasuki, without any contract agreement.

Delivering judgment in the suit, Justice Dimgba held that the prosecution in handling its case did not call nor charge the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, who is very central in the government’s case alongside Mr Azibaola.

Justice Dimgba further noted that contrary to the position of the prosecution, the monies released to the defendants was to tackle insecurity challenges in the Niger Delta within the said period.

Consequently, the court dismissed the charge and acquitted Azibaola from the charge.

The court had on March 29, 2018, struck out seven out of an initial nine charges which the EFCC preferred against Aziboala, his wife, Stella, and their firm.

In striking out the suit, the court discharged and acquitted Mrs Stella Aziboala on the premise that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie criminal charge against her.

Former President Jonathan Denies Withdrawing ‘Billions’ From Treasury

 

Former President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan has denied allegations of withdrawing Billions of Naira from the Nations treasury while he was in office.

The former president who spoke at a meeting organised by the Anglican Community in Abuja on Friday described the allegation has false and misleading.

He expressed sadness at what he described as ‘low’, people who tell lies against others.

“I remember a particular incidence where somebody was talking about billions that were removed from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and I asked them, how many trucks were used to carry all these billions?

“In Nigeria, we get carried away by figures and it’s sad that we go too low to tell lies against people.”

READ ALSO: Osun Election: Senator Adeleke Files Notice Of Appeal At Supreme Court

Jonathan urged for more prayers over the spate of insecurity in the country and asked that more should be done to nip the crisis in the bud.

“As a nation, we have been passing through a lot of challenges; the issues of kidnapping, armed robbery, and even to travel to very near cities like Kaduna is becoming a nightmare to Nigerians.

“But I believe with your constant prayers, asking God to take the lead, the country will get through all its challenges.”

‘Nine Years Ago, I Lost A Friend,’ Jonathan Pays Tribute To Yar’Adua

File photo of late Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan

 

Nigeria’s immediate former President Goodluck Jonathan has paid tribute to late President Musa Yar’Adua.

In a lengthy tribute posted on his official Twitter handle @GEJonathan, Jonathan described his late principal as a brother, friend and a man of integrity.

Read tweets below:

Jonathan was Yar’Adua’s running mate in the 2007 presidential election which they won.

On May 29, 2007, Yar’Adua was sworn in as Nigeria’s president but he didn’t live to the end of his tenure as he died on May 5, 2010.

Jonathan then stepped into the shoes of his principal, Yar’Adua and became Nigeria’s President.

In 2011, Jonathan won the presidential elections and remained Nigeria’s President till 2015.

Alleged $40m Fraud: Jonathan’s Cousin To Know Fate On May 27

Alleged $40m Fraud: Jonathan’s Cousin To Know Fate On May 27

 

A Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed May 27 to rule on the alleged $40 million fraud case against Mr Robert Azibaola, cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba fixed the date at the resumed proceedings, a statement from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said on Friday.

The EFCC had charged Azibaola and his company, One Plus Holdings, with two counts bordering on money laundering, criminal breach of trust, and corruption.

READ ALSOPolice Arrest Suspected Mastermind, Killer Of Magistrate Remi Ogu

They were alleged to have received $40 million from the Office of the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd), without any contract agreement.

On June 7, 2016, the anti-graft agency charged Azibaola, his wife, Stella, and the company to court on an amended nine-count bordering on money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption.

They, however, pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, which subsequently resulted in the commencement of their trial.

The EFCC had through its counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, closed the case of the prosecution on January 23, 2017, calling 10 witnesses and tendering several documents.

The defence, on the other hand, filed a “no-case” submission on March 19, 2018.

Ruling on the application, Justice Dimgba had sustained two of the nine counts and held that there was no prima facie case established against Stella.

Subsequently, Azibaola and One Plus were ordered to open their defence on the remaining two counts, as Stella’s name was struck off the charge sheet.

He, thereafter, took to the dock to testify in his defence and denied the allegation that he diverted money to his personal use.

On February 6, 2019, Azibaola’s his defence team led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chris Uche, closed its defence after calling two witnesses, including Azibaola, and presented several documents.

At the resumed sitting on Friday, both parties adopted their final written addresses after which Justice Dimgba adjourned till May 27, 2019, for “judgement”.

Jonathan Shot Himself In The Foot, He Could Have Defeated Buhari In Court – Galadima

 

Buba Galadima has said that former President Goodluck Jonathan shot himself in the foot by not taking Muhammadu Buhari to court following the outcome of the 2015 presidential election. 

Galadima who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily opined that Jonathan could have defeated Buhari in court.

“He could have successfully triumphed because of what had happened eventually from the rulings of the Supreme Court on Rivers and Akwa Ibom.

“With the benefit of insight, I think Jonathan shot himself on the foot,” Galadima argued.

The Spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential campaign organisation, noted that unlike Jonathan, Atiku has headed to court and ‘rightly so’, adding that Atiku’s move will not in any way trigger violence across the nation.

He alleged that there were malpractices in the just concluded elections and accused the ruling party of using the military to their own favour.

Galadima slammed what he termed as a military take-over of the polls, saying that “the military has no business in appearing during elections”.

READ ALSO: Bauchi Governorship Poll: PDP Faults Court Ruling, Petitions NJC

Speaking further on the elections and the court move by Atiku, Galadima said that “if there are courageous, just and God-fearing Justices in this country, this election will be upturned and Atiku Abubakar will be declared the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Reacting to the possibility of violence breaking out if the Courts upturns the elections in Atiku’s favour, Galadima noted that peace is pre-meditated on justice.

He said, “If the courts do Justice, it doesn’t matter what happens after, after all it is a price that we have to pay”.