A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos today dismissed two applications filed before the court seeking to change the guilty pleas of four companies linked to former First Lady Patience Jonathan’s controversial $15.5 million account fraud.
The two applications filed by two Lagos lawyers Gboyega Oyewole and Tochukwu Onyunke on behalf of the four companies, namely; Pluto Property and Investment Development Company Limited, Seagate Property and Investment Development Company Limited, Transoceanic Property and Investment Development Company Limited, and Avalon Property and Investment Development Company Limited, were dismissed by a judge who described the application an abuse of court process.
The applications had challenged the court’s jurisdiction to take the plea of the companies through their purported directors, and also wants the court to reverse the guilty pleas of the purported directors of the companies since they claim not to have anything to do with the companies.
Dismissing the two applications, the presiding judge, Justice Babs Kewumi ruled that since the applicants had approached the Court of Appeal for adjudication under Section 477 and 478 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act which was the same issue they are asking his court to determine on the matter, Justice Kewumi then stated that the step taken by the accused persons is abuse of court processes consequently he dismissed the applications were dismissed and adjourned until November 2 for the trial of the accused persons to commence.
It would be recalled that the purported directors of the four companies, Taiwo Ebenezer for Avalon Property and Investment Development Company Limited; Kola Fredrick for Transoceanic Property and Investment Development Company Limited; Friday Davis and Agbo Baro for Seagate Property and Investment Development Company Limited, have all pleaded guilty on behalf of the companies to money laundering charges leveled against them.
Upon the guilty pleas of the purported directors of the companies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), through its lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, urged the court to adjourn for review of facts of the case against them.
Other accused persons Waripamo-owei Dudafa, a former domestic aide of President Goodluck Jonathan and Skye Bank’s Head E-Banking, Adedamola Bolodeoku, alongside the four companies, in a second amended charge number FHC/337C/16, were alleged to have between November 13, 2013 and March 31, 2015, conspired with one Sombre Omeibi, who is now at large, to retain the sum of $15,591,700 which they reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, and thereby committed Offences bordering on money laundering, stealing,and conspiracy.
EFCC alleged that the said money was wired through account numbers: 2110002207; 2110002245; 2110002238; 0122493290; 2110002252; domiciled in Skye Bank Plc.
The anti-graft agency also alleged that the accused persons forged Skye bank’s mandate card which was purportedly signed by the purported directors of the companies, namely; Friday Davis, kola Fredrick, Agbo Baro, Taiwo Ebenezer and China John.
The offences according to the EFCC are contrary to sections 18(a) and 15(d), and punishable under section s15(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.
Mrs. Jonathan has since claimed the monies belonged to her and has sought the intervention of the courts to reclaim the funds.