A witness at the ongoing trial of Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, an aide of former President Goodluck Jonathan, on Monday told a federal court in Lagos that he received $4 million in cash from the defendant.
Murtala Abubakar, a bureau de change operator, said he received a total of N1.6 billion from Mr. Dudafa through five companies – Pluto Properties and Investment Limited, Avalon Global Property, Rotato Interlink Services, Seagate Property and Ebiwise Services Limited – between 2013 and 2015.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had arraigned Mr. Dudafa, a former Senior Special Assistant to Mr. Jonathan, and Joseph Iwejuo on a 23-count charge of concealment, retention of proceeds of crime, and failure to furnish information, before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court.
Mr. Abubakar, led in evidence by Rotimi Oyedepo, counsel to the EFCC, said he had known Mr. Dudafa since his days as a Commissioner for Local Government in Bayelsa State under the administration of Governor Timipre Sylva.
The witness also told the court that the only relationship between the two of them was FOREX transaction that continued up to the time Mr. Dudafa became a personal assistant to President Jonathan.
“He (Mr. Dudafa) usually send two of his staff, Festus and Jahman, with dollars in order to change same and deposit the naira equivalent into specific accounts he provides via text messages,” said Mr. Abubakar.
The witness said he received those text messages from Mr. Dudafa on his Samsung mobile phone. The mobile phone and an Ownership Attestation Form were admitted and marked as Exhibits E and E1 respectively.
When asked whether all the instructions on how to disburse the money were received via text messages, Mr. Murtala replied in the affirmative; but added that in the last transaction, Mr. Dudafa invited him to the Presidential Villa and handed to him $4 million cash.
The witness was confronted with exhibits A – B3 in which he identified all the transactions that transpired between himself and Mr. Dudafa from 2013 to 2015 both from his companies’ accounts and his personal account.
“I can confirm that all the dollars received during the transactions came from him,” Mr. Abubakar said.
When it was time for the cross-examination of the witness, the defendants’ counsels, Gboyega Oyewale and Sunday Abumeri, requested for an adjournment.
The judge adjourned till September 27 for cross-examination.