A Federal Excessive Court docket in Lagos has adjourned until October 7, 2016 to rule on two functions in search of to vary the responsible plea of 4 firms which on September 15 admitted laundering a sum of $15, 591,seven hundred.
Spouse of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Endurance, is claiming possession of the cash, which the Financial and Monetary Crimes Fee had since frozen in 4 Skye Financial institution accounts opened within the names of the 4 firms.
The 4 corporations are Pluto Property and Funding Firm Restricted; Seagate Property Growth & Funding Co. Restricted; Trans Ocean Property and Funding Firm Restricted and Avalon World Property Growth Firm Restricted.
That they had on September 15 pleaded responsible earlier than Justice Babs Kuewumi to conspiring with three others to launder the cash, which the EFCC described as a part of proceeds of theft.
These charged with them are a former Particular Adviser on Home Affairs to ex-President Jonathan, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa; a lawyer, Amajuoyi Briggs; and a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku.
Dudafa, Briggs and Bolodeoku had been listed as the first, 2nd and third defendants respectively within the cost.
However versus the 4 firms who pleaded responsible to conspiracy and cash laundering fees, the trio of Dudafa, Briggs and Bolodeoku pleaded not responsible.
The responsible plea was taken on behalf of the 4 firms by one Friday Davies, Agbo Baro, Bioghowri Frederick and Taiwo Ebenezer, who the EFCC mentioned have been listed as administrators within the corporations on the Company Affairs Fee.
Following the responsible plea by the businesses, the courtroom adjourned until Tuesday for the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, to assessment the details of the case after which the court docket would resolve their destiny.
On the resumed proceedings on Tuesday, nevertheless, Dudafa and Briggs, via their attorneys, Gboyega Oyewole and Tochukwu Onyiuke respectively, introduced separate purposes, urging the courtroom to alter the plea of the 4 firms from responsible to not responsible.
Oyewole argued that there was no doc earlier than the courtroom to show that Davies, Baro, Fredrick and Ebenezer had been authorised by the businesses to take a plea on their behalf.
He instructed the court docket that the 4 individuals had of their assertion to the EFCC said that they have been neither administrators of the businesses nor had something to do with the businesses.
He additionally urged the court docket to notice the basic rights enforcement go well with filed by Persistence, claiming possession of the $15.5m over which his shopper was being prosecuted.
“Neither the Federal Authorities nor any of its companies; neither any state nor its businesses have claimed the fund as their very own or that it was stolen from them,” Oyewole added.
He stated within the face of Endurance’s declare over the cash, permitting the responsible plea by the 4 firms and convicting them of cash laundering costs would quantity to “a gross abuse of the judicial course of and an assault on the precept of equity and justice.”
He stated his shopper was afraid that the responsible plea entered by the 4 corporations would adversely have an effect on him for the reason that proceedings have been joint proceedings and the primary depend bordered on conspiracy.
He stated the defendants had earlier been arraigned earlier than Justice Abdulaziz Anka, who sat as a trip decide, and that although the businesses pleaded responsible earlier than the choose, Justice Anka used his discretion to alter the plea to “not responsible” after noting the circumstances surrounding the case.
On his personal half, Onyiuke challenged the jurisdiction and competence of Justice Kuewumi to even entertain the arraignment of the 4 corporations within the first place.
He argued, “The situation precedent to this honourable court docket assuming jurisdiction, to wit: authority to characterize the 4th to seventh defendants by their purported representatives additional to Part 477(three) of the Administration of Prison Justice Act 2015, was utterly missing.”
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