Four companies linked to Dame Patience Jonathan, wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan in a $15million money laundering case today pleaded guilty before Justice Babs Kuewumi of the Federal High Court, Lagos.
But Waripamo-Owei Emmanuel Dudafa, former adviser on domestic affairs to President Jonathan; Amajuoyi Azubuike Briggs, another former presidential aide and Adedamola Bolodeoku, former official of Skye bank pleaded not guilty.
The companies that served as vehicles for the laundered money were Pluto Property and Investment Company Ltd, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Ltd, Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Ltd, and Avalon Global Property Development Company Ltd.
The defendants were alleged to have fraudulently received and retained various sums of money being proceeds of crime. The first accused, Dr. Waripamo- Owei Emmanuel in grand conspiracy with one Sompre Omiebi and others, allegedly procured the services of Adedamola Bolodeoku of Skye Bank Plc to launder and retain the proceeds of their unlawful activities to the tune of $15,591,700 (Fifteen million, five hundred and ninety one thousand, seven hundred United States Dollars).
One of the counts read: “That you Waripamo-Owei Emmanuel Dudafa, Amajuoyi Azubuike Briggs, Adedamola Bolodeoku, Sompre Omiebi (still at large) Pluto Property and Investment Company Ltd, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Ltd, Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Ltd, and Avalon Global Property Development Company Ltd on or about the 13th day of November, 2013 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: retain the total sum of $15,591, 700.00 (Fifteen Million, Five Hundred and Ninety One Thousand, Seven Hundred United State Dollars) which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act”.
In view of the plea of the defendants, Prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo informed the court that he was ready to review the facts of the case.
According to Oyedepo, “ my lord, the fourth to seventh defendants have by their plea admitted the essential ingredients of the charges against them”.
He further asked the court to use its discretion on the issue of bail, but however prayed the court that if bail is granted, it should come with conditions that will secure the defendants attendance at trial.
Counsel to the first defendant, Gboyega Oyewole, prayed the court to allow the first defendant enjoy the bail granted to him in another matter before a different Judge. He later moved his application for bail and prayed the court to grant his application on very liberal terms. Counsel to the second and third defendants, Tochukwu Onyiuke and Joseph Okobielen also moved their applications for bail on liberal terms.
Justice Kuewumi after listening to counsel, granted the second and third defendants bail in the sum of N250 million each with a surety in like sum. The surety must own a landed property in Lagos State or be a Permanent Secretary in a Federal or State Ministry. The Surety shall deposit his international passports and three years tax clearance.
The case was adjourned till 27 September, 2016.