Four firms linked to Mrs Jonathan plead guilty to $15m fraud charge
Lagos—Four companies, Pluto Properties and Investment Company, Seagate Property Development Company, Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Ltd, and Avalon Global Property Ltd, all of which allegedly have links with former First Lady, Dame Patient Jonathan, yesterday, pleaded guilty to alleged $15 million fraud charge brought against them before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos. EFCC boss Magu and Patience Jonathan EFCC boss Magu and Patience Jonathan Meanwhile, Mrs. Jonathan yesterday faulted the authenticity of the representatives of the four companies who pleaded guilty to the charges. Warpamo Dudafa, former Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to the ex-president Jonathan and two others, Amajuoyi Briggs, a lawyer and Adedamola Bolodeoku, a banker, were also arraigned alongside the companies. They were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a 15 count charge of conspiracy and fraud. When the case was called, yesterday, the four companies announced their representation as follows: Friday David represents Pluto Properties and Investment Company, and Agbor Obaro represents Sea gate property Development Company. Also, Fredrick Dioghowori announced his representation for Trans Ocean Property Ltd, while Taiwo Ebenezer represented Avalon Global Properties Ltd. After the charge was read to them, Dudafa, Briggs and Bolodeoku pleaded not guilty to all counts of the charge. But the four individuals representing the companies listed in the charge, each pleaded guilty to the offences. Following the guilty plea of the companies, the EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, prayed the court to allow a short time for review of the facts, adding that he would not waste the time of the court. The trial judge, Justice Babs Kuewumi however, declined prosecution’s request, adding that he would adjourn to a later date. The former First Lady, through her media aide, Chima Osuji, alleged that EFCC presented four unknown people as representatives of the companies, all of who did not show letters authorising them by their respective boards to represent them in the case. Osuji stated: “This is a clear evidence of the desperation of the prosecution to pull down the former First Lady and confiscate her hard-earned money. “It is an irony as it was the former first lady who went to court for the repatriation of her confiscated money, when she realised that the EFCC and its co-travellers were playing politics with this issue, after she had come out publicly to say that the said money belongs to her and that she has all evidence to prove the sources of her money. ”Up till this very moment, EFCC has refused to interrogate or invite her for questioning.” Meanwhile, counsel representing the second and third accused, Messrs Tochukwu Onyiuke, and Joseph Okebiemen informed the court of a bail application filed on behalf of their clients, adding that same had not been opposed. They urged the court to admit the accused to bail on liberal terms. Counsel to the first accused, Mr Gboyega Oyewole, also informed the court that his client was already on bail on existing conditions granted by a another judge and urged the court to allow his client enjoy same bail standing. Justice Kuewumi declined granting bail to the first accused and ordered him to file a formal application for bail before the court. The court, however, granted bail to the second and third accused in the sum of N250 million with one surety in like sum.