April 04, 2017
Firms convicted of laundering Patience Jonathan’s $15m hire Ozekhome to defend them
Mike Ozekhome (SAN), on Monday appeared before the Federal High Court, Lagos for companies convicted of laundering the sum of $15,591,700 to which wife of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, had laid claim.
The companies — Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited; Seagate Property Development & Investment Co. Limited; Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited and Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited — had on September 15, 2016 pleaded guilty to laundering the money.
They were arraigned before Justice Babs Kuewumi alongside a former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa; a lawyer, Amajuoyi Briggs; and a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku.
While Dudafa, Briggs and Bolodeoku pleaded not guilty, four persons, who appeared in court as the directors of the companies, pleaded guilty on their behalf.
The EFCC had told the court that it found the names of the four persons — Friday Davies, Agbo Baro, Bioghowri Frederick and Taiwo Ebenezer — listed at the Corporate Affairs Commission as the directors of the companies.
On that grounds, Justice Kuewumi had on November 2, 2016 convicted the companies of money laundering accordingly but reserved the sentence till the final determination of the cases of Dudafa, Briggs and Bolodeoku who pleaded not guilty.
The judge also noted that Madam Patience had filed a separate suit wherein she was laying claim to the $15m.
At the Monday’s proceedings, the EFCC sought to open its case by calling its first witness but Ozekhome appeared and told the court that the convicted companies had briefed him to defend them and urged the judge to allow him do so.
Ozekhome questioned the legitimacy of the four persons who had earlier presented themselves as the directors of the companies and pleaded guilty on their behalf.
But the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, objected to the appearance of Ozekhome and insisted that the companies had already pleaded guilty and had been convicted.
After entertaining arguments from the parties, Justice Kuewumi adjourned till May 10, 2017 when Ozekhome would appear as counsel for the convicted companies.
The EFCC, in the charges, accused the four companies of conspiring with Dudafa, Briggs and Bolodeoku to launder the $15million.