A Lagos Federal High Court yesterday dismissed two applications seeking to change the guilty pleas of four companies linked to Patience Jonathan’s controversial $15.5 million USD.
Justice Babs Kuewumi dismissed the application on the ground that it is an abuse of court processes. 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.
The two applications were filed by Gboyega Oyewole and Tochukwu Onyunke, lawyers to the two principal accused persons in the alleged fraud, Waripamo-owei Dudafa and a lawyer, Amajuoyi Azubike Briggs, 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.
In his ruling, Justice Kuewumi said since the applicants had approached the Court of Appeal for adjudication on Section 477 and 478 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), which was the same issue they are asking his court to determine on the matter, the step taken by the accused persons is abuse of court processes.
Consequently, Justice Kuewumi dismissed the two applications and adjourned the case till November 2 for the trial of the accused persons.
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, had all pleaded guilty on behalf of the companies to the alleged fraud charges leveled against them. Their guilty pleas had prompted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), through its lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, to ask the court to adjourn for facts of the case against the court.
The three accused persons, Dudafa, Briggs, and Skye Bank’s Head of e-Banking, Adedamola Bolodeoku, alongside the four companies, in a second amended charge marked 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 know forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, and thereby committed offences bordering on money laundering and stealing.