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N5.1BN Armsgate Saga: I Changed Several Dollars For Dudafa -Bureau De Change Operator

A Bureau de Change Operator, Alhaji Murtala Bashiru Abubakar, on Monday, narrated before a Lagos Federal High Court, how he changed millions of dollars to naira for Mr. Waripamo-owei Dudafa, a former Special Assistant to Goodluck Jonathan.

Alhaji Murtala a witness to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in the ongoing trial of Dudafa and one Iwejuo Joseph Nna, also know as Taiwo Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah,  who are standing trial before Justice Mohammed Idris led-court, on alleged N5.1 billion fraud.

The two accused persons were alleged to have used four companies namely; Pluto Property Development Company Limited, Avalon Property Development Company Limited, Seagate Property Development Company Limited, Rotato Property Development Company Limited, and Ebiwise Resources Limited.

Giving the details on how came in contact with Dudafa, the Bureau de Change Operator, who is the Chairman of Namuduka Ventures, Yamusa Oil and Gas Limited, and Yumusuka Ventures, said he had know him when he was Balyesa State's Commissioner for Local Government, under Timpreye Sylvia regime.

Murtala who was led in evidences-in-Chief by EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, said the transactions between him and Dudafa were done via text messages, except on one occasion when he went to the Aso Rock Villa to collect some naira which he changed into dollars and transferred such into the accounts of the four companies.

Giving the graphical details how he changed Nigeria Currency,  naira, to United State of America dollars,  the EFCC witness stated that he received a text message from  Dudafa on January 22, 2015, to pay nair equivalent of $400, 000 USD, into the account of Digest Fast food and Resturant account with number 0042308724, domiciled in GTB.

He also stated that on February 7, 2016, Dudafa instructed him through a text message to pay the sum of N10.3 million, into the account of Lanhir Travels and Tours limited, account number 1012400949, domiciled in Zenith bank.

He however imformed the court that there was no any contract or business between him and the two companies.

The witness further informed the court that he paid the sum of $50, 000 USD naira equivalent to the account of one Festus, one of the people working with Dudafa. Adding that he went to the Villa and collected the sum of $4 million USD, and paid its naira equivalent into the accounts of the Pluto, Seagate, Avalon, Rotato and Ebiwise Resources, companies belonging to Dudafa in May 27, 2015.

He further informed the court that on June 17 and 18, 2015, and  total sum of N55 million, was paid into his company's account (Namuduka Company Limited). He added that on July 29, 2013, he deposited the sum of N20 million to Seagate Property and Investment Company Limited.

He stated further that between March 3, November 4,October 10, December 19, 2014, the sum of  N34 million, N30.5 million, and on June 2, 2015, the sum of N50 million were paid into Rotato's account, a company belonging to Dudafa.

The witness informed the court further that he received through Ebiwise's account the total sum of N90 million from Ebiwise account between June 1 to 4, 2015, which he changed to dollars for Dudafa.

He also stated that between June 1 and N95 million from Rotato interlink Services limited, which was paid into his company's account. Adding that he did a net-transfer of the sum of N28.5 million to Rotato Interlink Services Limited account, given to him by Dudafa.

He said all the monies were paid into his companies accounts, except the last one, which he went to Villa to collect from Dudafa personally.

However, lawyers to Dudafa and Nne, Mr. Gboyega Oyewole and Sunday Abumere, urged the court to grant then a very short adjournment to enable the study the proof of evidence and interact with their clients, before the witness is cross-examine.

Though, the prosecutor opposed the application on the ground that the defence had been served with the proof of evidence since June, 2016, and wondered why they are still pleading for more time to study the documents.

However, the presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, adjourned the matter till tomorrow for cross-examination of the witness.

Dudafa and Nna, who also alleged to be bearing Taiwo Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah, and five limited liabilities companies are standing trial before the court on 23 counts charge bordering on the alleged offence.

The companies charged alongside the two accused persons are; Seagate Property Development & Investment Limited, Ebiwise Resources Limited; Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited; Lutato Interservices Limited and Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited.

It would be recalled that at the duo were arraigned before the court by the anti-graft agency on 23 count-charge bordering on alleged N5.1 billion fraud, by the EFCC, and they had pleaded not guilty to all the counts charge.

In the charge EFCC alleged that Dudafa, and Joseph Nna, who also claimed to be Taiwo Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah, had between June 11, 2013, and June 2015, used the named companies to fraudulently steal the  commit the alleged offences.

The count one of the charge read in parts; "that you,Warpamo Owei Emmanuel Dudafa, and Iwejuo Joseph Nna (a.k.a. Taiwo Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah), on or about the 11th day of June, 2013 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: Concealing the proceeds of crime in the sum of N 1, 667,162,800.00 (One Billion, Six Hundred and Sixty Seven Million, One Hundred and Sixty Two Thousand, Eight Hundred Naira), and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable  under Section 17(a) of the same Act."

And count 23 reads; "That you, Warpamo Owei Emmanuel Dudafa, on April 27, 2016 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court failed to furnish any information in relation to your interest in Ibijige Services Limited as required in page 12 of the Declaration of Assets Form and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 27 (3) (c) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004."

The alleged  offences 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.

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