Court convicts companies linked to Patience Jonathan over $15m

Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday convicted four companies of laundering $15.5m kept in their accounts with Skye Bank.

Patience, wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan had claimed ownership of the money.

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 – are linked with a former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had in August frozen the accounts of the four companies and seized the $15m in the course of probing Dudafa for money laundering.

On Thursday, Justice Babs Kuewumi convicted the four companies after they earlier pleaded guilty to money laundering.

EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, reviewed the facts of the case and told the court how the companies laundered the money.

Oyedepo told the judge that the money was stolen from the State House, Abuja.

He said, “The EFCC received an intelligence report showing vividly that the fourth to seventh defendants retained proceeds of crime.

“Our investigations showed that Fetus Iyoha admitted receiving the fund from the first defendant (Dudafa). Iyoha is a domestic staff at the State House.

“He admitted that funds credited into the accounts were given to him from the State House.”

Oyedepo said Iyoha paid $3,096,377.38 into Pluto’s account; $3,410,534.71 into Seagate’s account; $3,765,711.87 into Trans Oceans’ account; and $250,000 into Avalon Global’s account.

He said the accounts of the companies were domiciled in Skye Bank.

Justice Kuewumi admitted the account statements in evidence. He also admitted their mandate cards, certificates of incorporation and statements made to the EFCC by the companies’ representatives.

While convicting the companies of money laundering, the judge said he was satisfied that the EFCC had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt.

“I am satisfied that the prosecution has proved its case. I’ll exercise my discretion to suspend sentence until conclusion of trial.

“Having found them guilty, the court should make a consequential order that the money should be forfeited to the Federal Government.

“The ownership issue is still pending. There’s also a pending suit on the matter”, he held.

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