The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a notice of appeal against the ruling of Mohammed Idris, a judge of the Federal High Court, Lagos, who freed Dudafa Warripamo-Owei, a former aide of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, from an alleged N1.6 billion money laundering suit filed by the commission.
Warripamo-Owei was acquitted alongside Joseph Iwejuo, a banker. They were alleged to have conspired to launder the fund through the accounts of A.B. Wise Resources Limited, Seagate Property Development and Investment Limited, Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited, Rotato Interlink Service Limited, Pluto Property and Services Limited and De-jakes Fast Food and Restaurant Limited.
In a notice of appeal filed by Rotimi Oyedepo, counsel of the EFCC, the anti-graft agency challenged the decision to discharge the defendants of the 22-count charge brought against them, on nine grounds, arguing that the trial judge erred in his decision to absolve them of the charges.
Citing Mumuni vs State (1975), the EFCC argued that the judge “failed to take to account that in proving conspiracy, evidence of the mere agreement of the parties expressed or implied is sufficient for conviction”.
“The trial court did not consider the admission of Dudafa in his extrajudicial statement to the effects that the money was proceeds of gifts he received from former president Goodluck Jonathan and his friend who came to visit him,” the commission said arguing further that “the documentary evidence, the admission of the respondents in their extrajudicial statements and the evidence elicited by the appellant from the respondents under cross-examination, the prosecution needs not call Sompre Omiebi, Col. Sambo Dasuki, CBN governor, Director of Finance as held by the learned trial judge.”
The commission equally described as a miscarriage of justice, the failure of the trial court to properly evaluate the evidence brought before the court against Dudafa convict the defendants as charged and overrule the decision of the lower court.
The EFCC asked the court of appeal to convict the defendants as prescribed by the money laundering act, 2011 (as amended) and to overrule the lower court.