The trial of Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, a former Senior Special Adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, has been stalled following the transfer of the presiding judge.
The judge, Justice Bab Kuewumi, returned the case file to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court in Lagos, saying he had been moved out of the court’s jurisdiction.
Although the prosecuting counsel from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, U. U Buhari, informed the judge that the commission had written a letter to the Chief Judge, demanding a fiat for him to continue hearing the case, Kuewumi said he would return the case file pending the decision of the administrative judge.
“The case file is hereby remitted to the registry pending fiat,” he said.
Dudafa is on trial alongside six others: a lawyer, Amajuoyi Azubuike Briggs, a senior staff member of Skye Bank Plc, Adedamola Bolodeoku, Pluto Property Development Company Limited; Seagate Property Development Company Limited, Transocean Property Development Company Limited, and Avalon Property Development Company Limited.
The EFCC alleged that the firms were used as conduit pipes by the former First Lady, 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 and 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 that the three accused persons alongside the four companies between November 13, 2013, and March 31, 2015, conspired with Sombre Omeibi, who is said to be on the run, to retain $15,591,700.