The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has accused Dr Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, a former Special Assistant to ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, alongside his account officer at Heritage Bank, Joseph Iwuejo, of fraudulently laundering N1.6bn claimed to be for a supposed “fundraiser”. Accordingly, they are both facing a 23 count charge of conspiracy to conceal proceeds of crime.
In his defence, Dudafa has explained before the Federal High Court in Lagos that the sum of N1.6bn, which the EFCC linked to him was not acquired through fraudulent means but part of money garnered from a fundraiser organized in 2013 by the Anglican Communion of Otuoke Community towards the building of the St. Stephen’s Youth Development Centre in Otuoke, the former President’s hometown.
According to Dudafa, the said fundraiser, which was organized by the former President as a member of the Anglican Communion and the grand patron took place on the 16th of March, 2013 in Lagos and many people made monetary donations, including the Chief Launcher, Prince Arthur Eze, who pledged $10m (about N1.8bn), to be paid in installments.
In a country like Nigeria where fund looting, mismanagement, and embezzlement has become a norm, especially in the political landscape and given the already existing 5.1bn fraud scandal also linked to Dudafa, the question left unanswered is: was the enormous amount of money garnered, in reality, a fundraiser or is it another fund looting tactic?