An aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, who is facing corruption trial, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of mounting pressure on him to incriminate former first lady, Patience Jonathan. Dudafa, who served as a senior assistant on Domestic Matters to Mr. Jonathan, in a petition to the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, said he was being deliberately punished by the commission because of his loyalty to the former President and his family. But EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, denied Dudafa’s claims, saying “I don’t know the petition you are talking about but whatever petition there is, the commission does not force anybody to do anything.”
However, Dudafa accused the anti-graft agency of desperation to perpetually detain him despite meeting the bail conditions granted him by two federal judges. “My only sin is that I have refused to yield to the commission’s pressure to write false statements to incriminate the former first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan,” said Mr. Dudafa in his petition dated November 4. Mr. Dudafa was arrested by operatives of the State Security Service in Lagos last April while attempting to travel out of the country and was later handed over to the EFCC. In June, the EFCC arraigned Mr. Dudafa and two others before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on a 23-count charge of concealment and retention of proceeds of crime totalling N1.67 billion.
He was also arraigned, alongside two persons and four companies, before Justice Babs Kuewumi of the same federal court for money laundering to the tune of $15 million. Mrs. Jonathan has since claimed the money belonged to her. In the case before Mr. Idris, the judge granted Mr. Dudafa bail in the sum of N500 million with three sureties in like sum. “The sureties shall be landed property owner within the jurisdiction of the court,” said Mr. Idris. “The sureties shall deposit the title documents in the registry of the court. The said title documents shall be verified as genuine by the EFCC. “The sureties shall deposit three years tax clearance certificates which shall be verified as genuine by the EFCC. The sureties shall file affidavit of means and residency which shall be verified by the EFCC.”
The judge further ordered Mr. Dudafa to deposit his international passport with the registry of the court. For the matter before Mr. Kuewumi, the defendant was admitted to bail in the sum of N250 million with one surety. “The surety shall be ordinarily resident in Lagos and shall be owner of built up property within Lagos metropolis.” “The surety shall deposit original copy of property certificate of occupancy with the registry of the court. The surety shall deposit four recent passport photographs, his international passport, depose to affidavit of means and show proof of payment of three year tax paid as at when due.” The judge also mandated that the surety be a civil servant or public officer and must obtain a letter of introduction from an officer not below the cadre of a permanent secretary in either federal or state civil service and resident within Lagos State.
“The bankers of the surety shall write letter of introduction to indicate the age of the surety account with the bank. “The prosecution in conjunction with the court registrar shall verify the surety as a suitable person as well as the property in issue. The certificate of occupancy shall be verified by the land registry in Lagos,” Mr Idris said. The judge also mandated that Mr. Dudafa deposit his international passport and four recent passport photographs with the court registrar. “Despite meeting all the herculean bail conditions as ordered by the two courts, the Commission has failed to fulfill its part, by verifying all the title documents of the sureties,” Mr. Dudafa stated in his petition. He said various attempts by his lawyer to ensure that the commission deposited his international travel passport with the court since he was admitted to bail had been unsuccessful.
The petitioner further accused the EFCC of a blatant refusal to verify all the title documents provided by his sureties at the Land Registry for over two months in relations to the bail conditions granted him by Mr. Kuewumi. “From the above facts, it has become obvious that the EFCC is desperate to keep him perpetually in prison with the ultimate aim of killing him in prison despite the fact that his deteriorating state of health has been made known to the EFCC through a medical report dated August 29, 2016, and issued by the Nigerian Prison Service, Ikoyi, Lagos,” the petition said. Mr. Dudafa appealed to the Human Rights Commission to intervene in “a clear case of arbitrary abuse of power and flagrant disregard to court order and breach of his fundamental rights” by the EFCC. On Mr. Dudafa’s claims of the EFCC refusing to verify his bail documents, Mr. Uwujaren said “that matter is before a competent court of jurisdiction and matters before the court I don’t comment on them”.