Jonathan’s Ex-aide, Dudafa, Disowns Confessional Statement

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BEVERLY HILLS, November 21, (THEWILL) – The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered a trial-within-trial to determine if a former Senior Special Assistant to ex-President Gooluck Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, made a voluntary statement to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

This came as Dudafa, who is facing charges of N5.1bn money laundering, on Monday, disowned the extrajudicial statement he made to the EFCC followed by Joseph Iwuejo, who is also standing trial alongside Dudafa, also denied his own confessional statement.

During trial on Monday, EFCC's prosecution Oyedepo Rotimi, sought to tender in evidence a statement made by Dudafa, but Oyewole objected on the basis that it was not made voluntarily and also objected to the tendering of an asset declaration form purportedly completed by Dudafa while in EFCC custody.

“We are opposed to the bid to have this (asset declaration form) admitted as evidence,” he said.

“Our basis is that it was not voluntarily made by the first defendant. It was obtained under extreme duress; all sorts of promises were made to induce him (Dudafa) to admit all this.

“My Lord, we are contesting the voluntariness of this document.

“He (Dudafa) was induced to make the statement in custody after eight days in detention. The statement was made involuntarily.

“The first defendant contends that the confessional statement was not made voluntarily. He seeks a trial within trial to determine the voluntariness of the statement.”

Responding, Oyedepo said an asset declaration form filled by a suspect was not categorised under sections 28 and 29 of the Evidence Act as an extrajudicial statement.

“The document sought to be tendered is not a statement suggesting that Dudafa had committed an offence,” he argued.

“It is the declaration of his assets and, My Lord, which is in compliance with Section 27 of the EFCC Act, which imposes an obligation on a suspect under investigation to declare his assets and that cannot be construed to mean giving a statement.

“There is no basis on which to distinguish between this and any other extrajudicial statement made by the first defendant.”

Justice Idris adjourned until December 14 for ruling on admissibility of the assets declaration form, and for trial-within-trial.

Story by Oputah David