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Court convicts companies of laundering $15.5m for Patience Jonathan

A Federal High Court in Lagos, on Wednesday, convicted four companies allegedly linked to former First Lady, Patience Jonathan, in an alleged fraud case of $15.591 million.

The court found the companies guilty in counts two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and nine.

The companies convicted by the court were 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.

They were convicted after the prosecuting counsel of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, had reviewed the facts of the charge.

The purported companies’ directors, who pleaded guilty on behalf of the companies and agreed with facts reviewed by the prosecutor, were Friday Davis, Agbo Baro, Kola Fredrick, Taiwo Ebenezer and China John.

The four companies were charged alongside a former Special Assistant to President Jonathan, Waripamo-owei Dudafa; a lawyer, Amajuoyi Azubike Briggs and Adedamola Bolodeoku, a senior staff of Skye Bank Plc, of the $15.591 million which Mrs Patience Jonathan was laying claim to.

Reviewing the facts of the charge against the four companies on Wednesday, Rotimi Oyedepo informed Justice Babs Kuewumi that Pluto Property and Investment Development Company Limited, between November 14 and 19, 2014, retained the sum of $1.940,500 million, $1.2 million, $1,340,700, $1,895,400 and $1.2 million in its account number 2110002207 and 2110002238 domiciled with Skye Bank.

He also stated that Transoceanic Property and Investment Development Company Limited also retained in its accounts number domiciled with Skye Bank the sum of $1,897,700 between February 21 and November 19, 2014.

Oyedepo further informed the court that Seagate Property and Investment Development Company Limited, also retained in its Skye Bank accounts number 2110002243 the sum of $1,839,900 million, while Avalon Property and Investment Development Company Limited retained the sum of $250,000 in its account number 0122493290, domiciled with WEMA Bank Plc on February 28, 2015.

He informed the court that the said money were proceeds of crime, adding that they were paid into the four companies’ accounts by one Festus Iyoha, who was a domestic servant at the State House, Abuja.

Oyedepo after reviewing the facts of the charge, also tendered the documents, such as the companies’ bank mandate forms, account opening packages and the CAC Forms 2, which indicated that the purported directors were major shareholders in the companies.

However, lawyers representing other accused persons, Gboyega Oyewole, Ige Asemudara and Joseph Okobieme, urged the court to allow their clients to go through the documents sought to be tendered by the prosecutor.

The lawyers also stated that admitting of the documents, will have negative impact on their clients.

Before pronouncing the companies guilty, the court asked the purported directors if they agreed with the facts reviewed by the prosecutor, and they all agreed with the facts.

Consequently, Justice Babs Kuewumi pronounced all the four companies guilty as charged, but declined to pronounce sentence on them, saying that would be determined at the conclusion of trial of other accused persons in the matter.