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Dudafa Contradicts Himself In Trial-Within-Trial

February 13, 2017

The judge adjourned the matter to February 21.

Waripama-Owei Dudafa, a former Special Assistant to ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, today contradicted himself during his ongoing trial within a trial.

Mr. Dudafa, who was giving testimony in his trial for money laundering, was undergoing cross-examination by the counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Oyedepo, who asked him if he knew one Inspector Okodua Aminu and if the said person had brought him any items during his detention at the commission. 

Mr. Dudafa, quick in his response, said he knew the named person and that Mr. Aminu had only brought him paracetamol tablets. 

But he quickly changed his testimony when the prosecutor sought to tender an entry book that showed Mr. Dudafa was given more than just paracetamol.  He then said he would not know if Mr. Aminu had brought him other items.

Mr. Dudafa had challenged the admissibility of the extrajudicial statement he gave at the EFCC's custody, claiming it had been obtained under duress. He added that the anti-graft agency tortured him mentally and denied him access to his family members who brought him food and medications. 

In contradicting the defendant's claims, Mr. Oyedepo showed the court documents that revealed how food and medications were brought for the embattled former aide.

Mr. Dudafa refused to answer questions about this document. He stated that what was written in the document did not represent what happened to him while in the custody of EFCC.

In the heat of the exchange between Mr. Dudafa and the prosecutor, Mr. Dudafa’s counsel raised an objection to the prosecutor’s line of questioning. He said it was not the defendant's responsibility to respond to questions on a document he did not make. He said such document should be a matter to address, not one for the defendant to be cross-examined about.

"My learned friend cannot be the one to teach me how to do my job,” Mr. Oyedepo responded. “It was not a matter to address when you were leading your witness-in-chief to tell the whole world that he was not given food in EFCC custody. Now a document has been produced, showing who came to give him some items, now it has become an issue for the address. My Lord, we have been castigated, we have been accused unjustly. My Lord, an issue has gone to the public. I have a stake here to redeem the image of the commission. A wrong information has been communicated to the public that he was not given food in our custody."

Justice Idris allowed the prosecutor to continue with his questioning. He reminded the parties that only evidence that speaks to the issue being considered in the trial-within-trial will be looked at when he gives his ruling. 

Counsel to the second defendant, Sunday Abumere, asked the court for an adjournment to prepare for the examination of his client. Mr. Oyedepo opposed, insisting that trial must go on, as such an excuse that the second defendant did not know that the first defendant would finish his cross-examination today was not enough for an adjournment.

The second defendant, Mr. Joseph Nwejo Nna, was then called into the witness stand for his examination. But with only a few questions in, Mr. Abumere said he could not continue and asked for an adjournment.

The judge adjourned the matter to February 21.