The Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday denied the application of Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, a former Special Adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, to travel abroad for medical treatment.
Justice Chuka Obiozor, a stand-in judge who presided over the hearing, said if there were truly an emergency, Dudafa could have ensured that his application, filed since May, was heard by Justice Mohammed Idris before he proceeded on vacation. It was Justice Idris who ordered him to deposit the passport with the court as part of the conditions of his bail.
Dudafa was urging the court to order the release of his passport to enable him to travel abroad to treat a spinal cord injury, which he allegedly sustained while being detained in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The former aide, who is standing trial for fraud of N5.1bn, said he needed to urgently travel abroad for a medical appointment, for which he wanted the court to order the release of his passport.
His lawyer, Kolawole Salami, said the medical appointment was earlier scheduled for July 18 and 19, 2017 but had to be rescheduled for July 28, as Dudafa had yet to obtain access to the passport. He urged Justice Obiozor to hear and grant the application, saying the health of his client was at stake.
But Justice Obiozor refused to entertain the application, saying he was not convinced that there was truly any emergency in Dudafa’s case.
The judge said he would not be the one to release Dudafa’s passport, and directed him to wait till October 16, when Justice Idris, who had ordered Dudafa to deposit the document, would have returned from vacation.
“Let him reschedule to October; he can reschedule to October,” Justice Obiozor said in declining Salami’s plea to hear the application.
The EFCC is prosecuting Dudafa before Justice Idris on 23 counts of fraud and money laundering. He is standing trial alongside his ex-account officer at Heritage Bank, Joseph Iwuejo, who was said to have aided him to perpetrate the alleged fraud.
The EFCC alleges that between June 2013 and June 2015, Dudafa and Iwuejo, who also claimed to be Taiwo Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah, used different companies to fraudulently launder various sums of money totaling N5.1bn.
It listed some of the companies allegedly used by the accused persons in the transactions as Seagate Property Development & Investment Limited; Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited; Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited; and Rotate Interlink Services Limited; Ibejige Services Limited; DeJakes Fast Food & Restaurant Nigeria Limited; and Ebiwise Resources.
Dudafa and Iwuejo have pleaded not guilty to the charges.