/> Court To Rule On Jonathan's Wife's $15.5m October 7 | Welcome to praizeblog
 

A former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to
ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Waripamo Dudafa,
yesterday urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to
nullify the guilty plea by four companies linked to
Jonathan’s wife, Patience.


The companies on September 15 pleaded guilty to
laundering $15,591,700 (about N5billion) when they
were arraigned.
They are: Pluto Property and Investment Company
Ltd (represented by Friday Davis), Seagate
Property Development and Investment Company
Ltd (represented by Agbor Baro), Trans Ocean
Property and Investment Company Ltd
(represented by Dioghowori Frederick) and Avalon
Global Property Development Ltd (represented by
Taiwo Ebenezer).
The companies, along with a lawyer Amajuoyi
Briggs and a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku, were
arraigned before Justice Babs Kuewumi. Dudafa,
Briggs and Bolodeoku, however, pleaded not guilty
to a 17-count charge brought against them by the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
(EFCC).
Yesterday, Dudafa and Briggs, through their
lawyers, urged the court to set aside the guilty plea
entered on the firm’ behalf by their representatives.
They urged the court to replace the guilty plea and
with a “not-guilty” plea for the companies. They
also contended that the court lacked jurisdiction to
accept the companies’ guilty plea. The defendants
said those who pleaded guilty for the companies
did not exhibit any letter authorising them to do so
by the firms’ board.
They argued that the prosecution failed to comply
with Section 477(3) of the Administration of
Criminal Justice Act, 2015 which specifies that
such a representative must have authorisation.
Dudafa’s lawyer, Gbenga Oyewole, said the four
representatives had earlier made statements to
both the EFCC and the court denying any
connection with the companies and alleging that
their names and signatures were forged.
Besides, he said Mrs Jonathan had sued EFCC
claiming ownership of the funds in the companies’
accounts, adding that neither the Federal
Government not any state had stated that the
funds were stolen from them.
According to him, the same representatives had
earlier denied any link to the companies when they
were first charged before Justice Abdulazeez Anka,
who sat during the vacation. He said Justice Anka
replaced their guilty plea with “not guilty” after
their denial.
“The purported representatives did not produce a
statement of appointment by the companies,”
Oyewole argued.
But, EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, urged the
court to refuse the applications.
He said there was evidence at the Corporate
Affairs Commission (CAC) that Davies, Baro,
Fredrick and Ebenezer were the companies’
directors.
Oyedepo said the four also had the mandate to
operate the Skye Bank accounts where the
$15.5million is.
Besides, he said the companies representatives
were of sound mind and made a deliberate decision
to plead guilty.
“The prima facie evidence before Your Lordship is
that those who appeared before Your Lordship are
the directors of the fourth to seventh defendants
(the companies). EFCC said the accused persons
conspired on November 13, 2013 in Lagos to
launder $15,591,700.
It said the defendants “reasonably ought to have
known that the funds form part of the proceeds of
an unlawful act”.
Seagate Property, Dudafa, Bolodeoku and Sompre
Omiebi (said to be at large) were accused of
indirectly retaining $1,094,500 through a Skye Bank
Plc account (2110002207) between November 14
and 19, 2013. EFCC said the money “forms part of
an unlawful act to wit: stealing.”
They were also accused of indirectly retaining
$1,200,000 through the Skye Bank account
between January 21 and December 19, 2014; as
well as $1,349,700 through the same account
between March 31 and May 20, 2015, among
others.
Justice Kuewunmi adjourned until October 7 for
ruling.

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