Justice Bab Kuewumi of a Federal High Court Lagos has returned to the court’s Chief Judge the case file for the alleged $15,591,700 fraud charge against Dr. Waripamo-owei Dudafa and six other defendants.
Dudafa is a former Senior Special Adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan
The judge, on Friday, informed the parties that he took the decision following his transfer out of the court’s Lagos Division.
He said his decision stood pending the response to a letter by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking the CJ’s ‘fiat’ to allow him continue hearing the matter.
EFCC counsel, Mr U. U Buhari, had informed Justice Kuewumi of the letter, which he believed was written by his lead counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo.
He said the prosecution was awaiting the Chief Judge’s response.
Responding, Justice Kuewumi said: “The case file is hereby remitted to the registry pending fiat”.
Dudafa is on trial alongside a lawyer, Amajuoyi Azubuike Briggs, and a senior staff of Skye Bank Plc, Adedamola Bolodeoku.
The other defendants are four firms: Pluto Property Development Company Ltd; Seagate Property Development Company Ltd, Transocean Property Development Company Ltd, and Avalon Property Development Company Ltd.
The EFCC alleged that the firms were used as conduit pipe by the former First lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan.
The defendants were arraigned before the judge on September 15, 2016
The companies, through their supposed directors, Agbo Michael Baro, Friday Davis, Kola Frederick, Taiwo Ebenezer and Chima John, pleaded guilty to the charges.
But, on September 27, 2016, they sought to change their plea.
The EFCC opposed them.
Justice Kuewumi, on October 7, 2016, dismissed the defendants’ applications to plead not guilty.
It convicted the companies of the allegations of conspiracy, money laundering, stealing and fraud, on November 2, 2016.
The EFCC alleged in a second amended charge marked FHC/337C/16, that the three accused persons alongside the four companies, between November 13, 2013 and March 31, 2015, conspired with one Sombre Omeibi, who is now at large, to retain the sum of $15. 591, 700.
It said the “reasonably ought to have known” that the sums formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.
They were also alleged to have wired the money through account numbers: 2110002207; 2110002245; 2110002238; 0122493290; 2110002252; domiciled in Skye Bank Plc.
The anti-graft agency also alleged that the accused persons forged Skye Bank’s mandate card which was purportedly signed by the purported directors of the companies, namely; Friday Davis, kola Fredrick, Agbo Baro, Taiwo Ebenezer and Chima John.