The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday charged before a Federal High Court in Lagos Mr. Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs, Amajuoyi Azubike Briggs, a lawyer, and three others over an alleged fraud of $31.4 milion.

Others charged before the court, presided over by Justice Abdul Aziz Anka, are Demola Bolodeoku and five limited liability companies. The companies are Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Limited, Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited, Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited and Globus Integrated Services Limited.

In a 17-count criminal charge (No. FHC/337C/2016), the EFCC alleged that the accused persons, between November 13, 2013, and May 28 2015, conspired, through various banks, to conceal the total sum of $31.4 million, which they knew formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.

They were allegedly abetted by one Sombre Omeibi, now at large, through account numbers 2110002269, 2110002238,2110002245, 210002252, 2110002207, 2110002269 and 0122493290 domiciled at Skye Bank Plc.

The alleged offenses are in contravention of sections 18(a) and 15(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012, and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same act.

But the arraignment of the accused persons could not take place because of the absence of Mr. Dudafa and representatives of the accused companies. When the case was mentioned, the EFCC's prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, sought for an adjournment to enable the anti-graft agency to serve the charges on the other accused persons. Mr. Oyedepo told the court that the agency needs a court order for proper service of the charge on Mr. Dudafa, who he said rejected service in prison custody.

The prosecutor also urged the court to make a pronouncement to enable the EFCC to serve the second accused person, Mr. Briggs, who was the secretary to the companies and served as the referee in the allegedly fraudulent transactions made by the accused companies., according to the prosecutor.

"The first defendant is a private individual and under Section 123 of ACJA. We are to serve him personally. We went to prison on August 12, 2016, to serve him the charge but he declined service. We have charged him in a related case before Justice Idris, though he was granted bail, but an issue cropped up. Consequently, he is still in prison. I also need the order of the court to serve other accused persons in the service of the fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth defendants. The companies were opportune to know who and who are their directors. In the course of the investigation, we came to know that the chambers of the accused lawyer incorporated those companies and in his wisdom, he inserted addresses that are not available," the prosecutor said while seeking an adjournment.

Mr. Oyedepo further told the court that the accused lawyer 's statement dated July 7, 2016 confirmed that his firm registered those companies and that the companies appointed him as their secretary.

But T. J. Onyeieke, Mr. Briggs’ lawyer, urged the court to discountenance the submission of the prosecution on the ground that his client is not a director in any of the companies mentioned in the charge.

He argued further that if the prosecution wanted to serve the companies’ charge on the lawyer, it should be done through a proper application, not an oral one. He therefore urged the court to refuse the prosecution's application.

However, while granting the prosecution's application for service of the charge on Mr. Dudafa in prison custody, Justice Anka adjourned the ruling on the service of the charge on the companies and the accused lawyer till September 8.



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