Politics

Ozekhome joins fight over Mrs Jonathan’s $15m, challenges guilty plea of 4 companies

Ozekhome joins fight over Mrs Jonathan's $15m, challenges guilty plea of 4 companies

Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) has opted to challenge the guilty plea entered by four companies alleged to have laundered a sum of $15.591milion, which Mrs Patience Jonathan is laying claim to.

The lawyer has filed an appeal at the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal.

Ozekhome is asking the court to set aside the guilty plea the four 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 entered that led to their conviction.

Last year, following alleged money laundering charge brought before the Federal High Court in Lagos by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the companies on September 15, 2016 pleaded guilty to laundering the money.

Sequel to their guilty plea, Justice Babs Kuewumi, convicted them as charged but reserved their sentencing till a later date.

The judge’s decision to reserve their sentencing was due to the fact that the three persons charged along with the company pleaded not guilty and opted to go through trial.

The defendants who pleaded not guilty were Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to ex-President Jonathan, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa; a lawyer, Amajuoyi Briggs; and a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku.

Ozekhome at the April 3, 2017 proceedings in the case, appeared before the court with claims that he had been contracted by the convicted companies to stand in as their counsel and prayed the judge to allow him enter appearance for them.

Read also: Court orders EFCC to unfreeze Patience Jonathan’s $5.9m

His prayer was opposed by the prosecuting lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, who insisted that the companies had already been convicted.

The judge nonetheless, granted Ozekhome’s prayer to represent the convicted companies.

Afterward, Ozekhome went before the Court of Appeal and prayed for leave to challenge the conviction of the companies before the lower court.

A lawyer in Ozekhome’s chambers, Chimaobi Onuigbo, argued in a supporting affidavit to a motion filed at the appellate court, that the companies were not represented by any lawyer when they pleaded guilty.

He further argued that Friday Davies, Agbo Baro, Bioghowri Frederick and Taiwo Ebenezer, who entered the guilty plea on behalf of the four companies, were not permitted to do.

This was regardless of the EFCC claim that the four persons were listed as directors in the companies at the Corporate Affairs Commission.

 

 

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