A banker with Heritage Bank Plc, Iwejuo Joseph Nna, today, told, a Federal High Court that he is been persecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged N4.6 billion fraud, because of his failure and refusal to make indicting statements against and implicate Dr. Warimapo Owei-Dudafa, on the alleged offence.
The banker is being tried before Justice Mohammed Idris led-court, on amended 23 count charge, bordering on Conspiracy and concealment of the alleged fraud.
Also, Dudafa, aformer Senior Special Assistant to Ex- President Goodluck Jonathan, on Domestic Affairs, told the Court, Lagos, that he only carried out Presidential directive, in the payment of N15 million to the GTBank account of one Itekesi Florence on May 6, 2015.
Dudafa while being cross-examinee by the prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, today, and was asked if he knew one Itekesi Florence, Dudafa Said : “yes. I know Florence, she is the first cousin to ex-president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan , she is the House Keeper of the ex-President House in Yenagoa and Otuoke and I have cause to carry message to her in the cause of running errands for the former president” .
When asked to confirm from exhibit F, if he he had in the past asked one Mr Bashir ( a Bureau de Change operator) to send N15m to the GTB account of the said Florence, the defendant said he is not sure as it was a long time.
He, however, said he he had on several occasions on the directive of the ex-President President, send money to Florence which were transferred to her account by Bashir.
Dudafa further told the court that after ex-president Jonathan lost the 2015 general election, he decided to make preparation to return home and in the process need to renovate his residence both in Yenagoa and Otuoke which were handled by Florence, his house keeper and that on several occasions, he had cause to direct the transfer of funds to her on the directive of the former president.
Questioned on a text message he allegedly sent to Bashir requesting to know the exchange rate of dollar to Naira, the defendant said he mede the request from the Bureau de Change operator, based on the request of ex- President Jonathan who wanted to send money to her cousin and and asked him to find out the rate so that he can know the equivalent of dollars to send to her.
When re- examined by his lawyer, Mr Gboyega Oyewole, (SAN) leading Ademola Adefolaju, on why no money was transferred to the Otuoke Anglican Communion, church which he claimed that the donation from Prince Arthur Eze was mean, Dudafa said my role was to take money and pay to people or institutions.
“Iam not the owner of the account, I was only given instructions by the ex-President to remit , Iam also not asignatory to the account. It is a private account which I have no say about how the money in it should be spent”, he said.
Meanwhile, the second defendant, Iwejuo Joseph Nna opened his own defence today by telling the court that he is being prosecuted because of his refusal to implicate the first defendant, Dudafa.
Nna in his evidence-in-chief, told Justice Idris, that upon his arrival at the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, that he was told that he is not the target of thier investigation, but Dudafa and that if he cooperate with them he will be left off the hook, buy that if he refused to implicate the first defendant he would be persecuted for the sin of another person.
“I told them that I can’t understand what they mean and they ask me if I have a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, who would be ready to defend me and that I should be prepared for the consequences if I refused to cooperate”.
He further told the court that he was not the only one invited by the anti- graft agency on the matter, adding that the bank’s Head of operations, Yenagoa branch, Mr Ademola Folorunso who had earlier testified against the first defendant was invited as well as one Stanley Nwogu, the branch head of Fund Transfer.
Joseph denied having any personal relationship with the companies listed in the charge except official relationship as the Account Officer responsible for those account.
“I have no personal relationship with any of the companies, I only manage in my official capacity as the account officer”, he said .
He further told the court that he had no official role in the process of opening the account which were opened at the bank’s headquarters and not in Yenagoa.
Nwejuo further told the court that as branch manaand of Heritage Bank , his role in administering the branch is more of ceremonial, adding that the key persons officers are the operations manager without which no account can be operated and the Head of the Fund Transfer unit, Stanley Nwogu without which no funds can be transferred from the bank.
Meanwhile, further hearing in the matter has been adjourned till September 18.
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