Patience Jonathan: 4 firms pleaded guilty to money laundering charge

Patience Jonathan: 4 firms pleaded guilty to money laundering charge

Thursday, September 15, 2016 4:42 pm


Patience Jonathan:

Patience Jonathan:

By Akin Kuponiyi

Four companies named in the alleged $15.59 million which the Nigeria’s former first lady, Patience Jonathan, said belonged to her, pleaded guilty to the money laundering charges filed against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today.

The four companies are: Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Limited, Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited and Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited.

The four companies, through their purported directors namely: Agbo Micheal, Friday Davis, and Kola Fredrick, pleaded guilty to the 15 counts amended charge of fraud, conspiracy and Money Laundering.

Meanwhile, the three purported directors of the companies, when first arraigned before Justice AbdulAziz Anka led-court, denied having any link with the companies. They had told the court that they did not know when their passport photographs and signatures where used to registered the companies.

However, lawyer to Waripamo-owei Dudafa, one of the accused persons charged alongside the four companies, Mr Gboyega Oyewole objected to the guilty pleas of the companies, on the ground that there was no any letter from the companies indicating the purported directors as their directors.

In the alleged multimillion dollars fraud, three other persons were arraingned alongside the four companies: Waripamo-owei Dudafa, a Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan, a lawyer, Amajuoyi Azubike Briggs, and a Senior staff of Skye Bank Plc, Adedamola Bolodeoku.

EFCC in a second amended criminal charge marked FHC/337C/16, alleged that the three accused persons alongside the four companies, between November 13, 2013 and March 31, 2015, conspired with one Sombre Omeibi, who is now at large, to retain the sum of $15. 59 million, which they reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, and thereby committed offences bordering on money laundering, and stealing.

The anti-graft agency also alleged that the said money was wired through account numbers: 2110002207; 2110002245; 2110002238; 0122493290; 2110002252; domiciled in Skye Bank Plc. as the accused persons were alleged to have forged Skye bank mandate card which were purportedly signed by the directors of the companies, namely; Friday Davis, Kola Fredrick, Agbo Baro, Taiwo Ebenezer and China John.

The offences alleged to have been committed by the accused persons are contrary to sections 18(a) and 15(d), and punishable under section s15(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

The three accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Consequently, lawyers to the accused persons, Gbeyega Oyewole, leading four other lawyers, on argueing the bail applications of the accused urged the court to admit them to bail in the most liberal terms.

However, EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, while not opposing bail being granted to the accused persons, urged the court to give them bail conditions that will enable them to attend trial.

Consequently, the presiding judge, Justice Babs Kuewumi, admitted the accused persons to bail in the sum of N250 million with one surety. The judge also ordered that the surety must be a landed property owner within the court jurisdiction, and submit the documents of the property to the court registrar’s for verification. thereafter the matter was adjourned till September 27, for the trial of the accused persons to commence,and for the prosecution to prove his case against the companies.

The author of this story Akin Kuponiyi can be reached at
serekode@yahoo.com


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