the co-accused in the on-going trial of former Senior Special Assistant to Ex- President Goodluck Jonathan, Warimapo Owei-Dudafa yesterday told a Federal High Court in Lagos that he was charged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) because of his refusal to implicate Dudafa.
Nna, a banker with Heritage Bank Plc, who was testifying in his own defence in the alleged N4.6 billion fraud case also told the court that he only carried out Presidential directive, in the payment of N15 million to the GTBank account of one Itekesi Florence on May 6, 2015. The two men are facing allegations of conspiring to conceal proceeds of crime. They were on June 11, 2016, arraigned before the court by the EFCC on a 23-count charge of conspiracy to conceal proceeds of crime amounting to N1.6 billion.
In the charge, the anti-graft agency alleged that the two accused persons, between June 2013 and June 2015, used different companies to fraudulently launder the money. The five companies are: Seagate Property Development & Investment Limited, Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited and Pluto Property Limited Investment Company Limited and Rotate Interlink Services Limited. The offences according to the EFCC are contrary to and punishable under sections 17(a), 18(c), and 27 (3) (c) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004.
They, however, pleaded, not guilty to the charge. Nna in his evidence-in-chief, told Justice Mohammed Idris, that upon his arrival at the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, that he was told that he is not the target of their investigation. He also claimed that the investigators told him that if he cooperates with them he would be left off the hook, but that if he refused to implicate the first defendant he would be persecuted for the sin of another person.
“I told them that I can’t understand what they mean and they asked me if I have a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, (SAN), who would be ready to defend me and that I should be prepared for the consequences if I refused to cooperate”. The accused persons further told the court that he was not the only one invited by the anti- graft agency on the matter and that the bank’s Head of operations, Yenagoa branch, Ademola Folorunso who had earlier testified against the first defendant when invited as well as one Stanley Nwogu, the branch head of Fund Transfer.
Nna denied having any personal relationship with the companies listed in the charge except official relationship as the Account Officer responsible for those account. “I have no personal relationship with any of the companies, I only manage them in my official capacity as the account officer”, he said. He further told the court that he had no official role in the process of opening the account which were opened at the bank’s headquarters and not in Yenagoa. Nna further told the court that as the branch manager of Heritage Bank, his role in administering the branch is more of ceremonial, and that the key persons are the operations manager without whom no account can be operated and the Head of the Fund Transfer unit, Stanley Nwogu without whom no funds can be transferred from the bank. Meanwhile, further hearing in the matter has been adjourned till September 18.