Four companies plead guilty to laundering Patience Jonathan’s $15m
The four companies arraigned on Thursday alongside a former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, have pleaded guilty to laundering $15,591,700.
The companies admitted before a Federal High Court in Lagos that they conspired with Dudafa; a lawyer, Amajuoyi Briggs; and a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku, to launder the money.
The companies are: Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited; Seagate Property Development & Investment Co. Limited; Trans Ocean and Investment Company Limited; and Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited.
They were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
But, Dudafa, Briggs and Bolodeoku pleaded not guilty to the amended 15 counts filed against them by the EFCC.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had since frozen the $15.6m found in the four companies’ accounts in Skye Bank.
But wife of ex-President Jonathan, Patience, has sued the EFCC and Skye Bank, laying claims to the money.
Following the guilty plea of the companies, the EFCC prosecution led by Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, prayed the court to allow a short time for review of the facts, adding that he would not waste the time of the court.
The trial judge, Justice Babs Kuewumi however, declined prosecution’s request, adding that he would adjourn to a further date.
Meanwhile, counsel representing the second and third accused, Messrs Tochukwu Onyiuke, and Joseph Okebiemen informed the court of a bail application filed on behalf of their clients, adding that same has not been opposed.
They urged the court to admit the accused to bail on liberal terms.
Counsel representing the first accused, Gboyega Oyewole, also informed the court that his client was already on bail on existing conditions granted by a brother judge, and urged the court to allow his client enjoy same bail standing.
But, Justice Kuewumi declined granting bail to the first accused, and ordered him to file a formal application for bail before the court.
The court however, granted bail to the second and third accused in the sum of N250 million with one surety in like sum.
The judge added that the sureties must be owners of landed properties in Lagos, and if a public servant, such surety must produce a letter of introduction from his employer.
The judge also ordered the sureties to submit evidence of tax clearance.
He adjourned the case to September, 27, and ordered the accused to be remanded in prison custody pending perfection of their bail.
In the amended charge, the EFCC alleged that the accused had between Nov. 13, 2013, and June 2015, used the different companies to commit the offences.
The accused were alleged to have conspired to retain over 15 million dollars, which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of crime. The alleged offences are said to be contrary to and punishable under sections 15 (d), 17(a), 18(a), and 27 (3) (c) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004.
The offence is said to have also contravened the provisions of sections 1(2) (c), and 1(19) (6) of the Miscellaneous offence Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation, 2004. It also contravened the provisions of sections 18 (a) of the money laundering prohibition act, 2012.
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