Alleged $15.5m Money Laundering: Four Companies Appeal Conviction

Court Sentences Falae's Kidnappers To Life ImprisonmentThe four companies convicted by the Federal High Court in Lagos for laundering $15.5 million allegedly belonging to the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, have asked the Court Of Appeal also in Lagos to overturn the verdict.

They were arraigned alongside a former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to President Jonathan, Waripamo Dudafa, a lawyer, Amajuoyi Briggs and a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku, who all pleaded not guilty.

The four men who represented the companies had pleaded guilty to laundering the money when they were arraigned before Justice Babs Kuewumi.

However, the companies through their lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, now claim that the identities of those who purportedly pleaded guilty on their behalf were “unverified”.

According to the firms, the representatives did not present any evidence that they were duly appointed.

Court Adjourns Patience Jonathan’s Suit Against EFCC Till March 6

Court Orders Forfeiture Of Malabu Oil To FGA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned the suit filed by wife of Nigeria’s former president, Mrs Patience Jonathan, seeking to un-freeze multiple accounts belonging to her in five Nigerian Banks, till March 6, 2017,

In the suit, Mrs Jonathan is claiming ownership of the sum of $15.5 million dollars which was found in the accounts and frozen by the EFCC after it obtained an order from the court.

The EFCC had told the court that the accounts in which the money was kept was allegedly used to launder funds by four companies traced to a former Presidential Aide, Emmanuel Waripamo Owei-Dudafa.

In proof of this, the identified directors of the companies in another case had pleaded guilty to an offence of conspiracy and money laundering in a criminal trial before another judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Babs Kuewumi.

Presiding Justice, Mohammed Idris, has however adjourned the matter after the request by some of the lawyers representing the companies for more time to study the case.

The lawyers said they had just been briefed to take over the matter.

Mrs Jonathan sued the EFCC, Skye Bank, Dudafa and the four companies, claiming that the frozen funds belonged to her.

She wants the court to make an order directing the EFCC to lift the restriction on the bank accounts.

She has also demanded damages in the sum of 200 million Naira from the commission for infringing on her rights.

Dudafa Says EFCC Forced Him To Write Statement

Dudafa Says Statements Made To EFCC Were ForcedThe Federal High Court has adjourned till February 13, it’s ruling on the admissibility of a court order on which authority the EFCC remanded a former Senior Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa.

The defendant had contended that the EFCC remanded him in custody without access to his lawyers.

He had also denied statements made in custody insisting that the statements were dictated and he was mentally tortured to sign them in order to regain his freedom.

Under cross-examination on Tuesday from Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, the Counsel to the EFCC, Mr Dudafa denied being offered administrative bail by the commission.

He, however, admitted that one Barrister Sylvanus Habila who is his Uncle came to his rescue and acted as his lawyer.

The EFCC says the administrative bail was not completed because the lawyer recommended on behalf of the defendant’s sureties produced forged documents before the commission.

The EFCC told the court that this lawyer was also present in court when the remand order from a magistrate court was obtained.

Mr Dudafa, however, insisted that the lawyer was seen and not heard as the remand proceedings was an exparte one.

A move to tender the remand order in court to show that the lawyer made an argument for Mr Dudafas bail in the Magistrate court was rebuffed by the Defence Counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole who insisted that the document was not certified neither was it properly produced before the court.

The EFCC insisted that the document was produced in its primary form and did not require certification.

Following arguments and counter arguments on the issue, Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned till Feb 13 to consider his ruling on the admissibility of the document.

Mr Dudafa is testifying in a trial-within-trial to determine the voluntariness of some statements he made while in the custody of the EFCC after his arrest on charges of illegally concealing about 1.6billion Naira which were alleged to be proceeds of crime.

Alleged $15.5m Scam: Jonathan’s Aide, Dudafa Loses Bid To Change Companies’ Plea

Court-dockTwo applications brought before a Federal High Court in Lagos by a former Special Assistant on Domestic Matters to Goodluck Jonathan, Emmanuel Dudafa and his co-defendant, Azubuike Briggs, have been dismissed.

Justice Babs Kuewumi dismissed the applications on Friday on the ground that the they constituted an abuse of court process.

At the last adjourned date, the 1st and 2nd defendants (Dudafa and Briggs) brought separate applications through their counsels, Gboyega Oyewale and Tochukwu Onyuike, asking the court to set aside the “guilty plea” earlier entered by the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th defendants.

Dudafa’s counsel, Oyewale, fears that, the “guilty plea” entered by the four companies would adversely affect them since the proceedings were joint proceedings and the first count bordered on conspiracy.

He also claimed that the purported directors of the companies stated in their statement to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that they had nothing to do with the companies.

An Abuse Of Court Process

A spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said that Mr Onyiuke, on his part, challenged the jurisdiction and competence of Justice Kuewumi to even entertain the arraignment of the four companies, in the first place.

“The condition precedent to this Honourable Court assuming jurisdiction, to wit: authority to represent the 4th to 7th defendants by their purported representatives further to Section 477(3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, is completely lacking”, Onyiuke argued.

He said accepting the “guilty plea” of the companies who admitted that they conspired with his client to launder the money would occasion a miscarriage of justice against his client.

Responding, counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, urged the court to dismiss both applications as it was an abuse of court process at this stage after the court had already assumed jurisdiction and the plea of the defendants had been taken.

According to him, it was too late for the 2nd defendant to challenge the jurisdiction of the court.

Rotimi also called the attention of the court to the statements of accounts from Skye Bank where the $15.5m was kept, showing that Davies, Baro, Fredrick and Ebenezer were the authorized persons with mandate to operate the accounts.

He said the accounts were opened pursuant to documents from the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, where Davies, Baro, Fredrick and Ebenezer were registered as directors in the companies.

“The prima facie evidence before Your Lordship is that those who appeared before Your Lordship are the directors of the 4th to 7th defendants,” Oyedepo submitted.

In his ruling, Justice Keuwumi agreed with the argument of the prosecution that the applications were indeed an abuse of court process and accordingly dismissed same.

The case has been adjourned to November 2, 2016 for trial.

Witness Tells Court How NAMA Officials Diverted N263m In Three Months

ObazeeA prosecution witness in the on-going trial of the Managing Director of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Ibrahim Abdulsalam and six others, Babatunde Adenekan, on Thursday told a Federal High Court in Lagos how the officials of the agency allegedly diverted N263.4m between October and December 2014.

Adenekan, who is a Compliance Officer with Stanbic IBTC Bank, told the trial judge, Justice Babs Kuewumi that the N263.4m was paid in four tranches into the bank account of a contractor, Delosa Limited, after which it was transferred also in several tranches into bank accounts belonging to some officials of NAMA.

Abdulsalam was arraigned before the court alongside Adegorite Olumuyiwa, Agbolade Segun, his wife, Joy, Ayodele Adegorite, who is the Managing Director of Multeng Travels and Tours Limited, Clara Aliche, and two Limited Liability companies Randville Investment Limited, Multeng Travels and Tours Limited by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), on a 24 count charge of conspiracy and fraud.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charge and were admitted to bail in the sum of N20 million with one surety in like sum each.

Adenekan, who is the first prosecution witness, while being led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, said, “On October 16, 2014, N38.8m came into Delosa’s account. That same day, N9m in four places were transferred into Randville Investment Limited account. That same day, N2.3m was also paid into Randville account.

“On November 11, 2014, N98.2m came into Delosa’s account. On that day, N9m in three places were transferred to Randville. Another N3m was transferred to Randville the same day, while N7.8m was transferred to Multeng and Tours Limited.

“On December 3, 2014, N88.9m came in. The same day, N9m in four places were transferred to Randville and another N2.5m was transferred to Randville.

“On December 7, 2014, N37.5m came into Delosa’s account from the Central Bank of Nigeria. On the 18th, N10m in three places were transferred to Randville Investment Limited and later another N7m on the same day,” Adenekan testified.

The witness also identified the 3 defendants, Agbolade Segun, and his wife, Susan, as the signatory to the 10 fixed deposit accounts operated by Randville Investment Limited.

Justice Kuewumi has adjourned the matter till May 30 for continuation of trial.

In the 24 count charge marked FHC/ L/ 145C/2016, it was alleged that all the accused persons and one Nnamdi Udoh still at large between January 31, 2013 and September 3, 2015, with intent to defraud and by false pretence conspired together to induce the Agency to deliver the sum of N2.8 billion, to Delosa Limited, Air Sea Delivery Limited and Sea Schedules Systems Ltd under the pretence that the said sum represented the cost of clearing consignments belonging to the Agency.

The accused persons were also alleged to have converted various sums of money amounting to over N4m belonging to the Agency, to their personal use.

Court Dismisses Osun PDP’s Suit Seeking 2011 Elections’ Reversal

courtA Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, has dismissed an application filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), seeking a mandatory order of reversal of the 2011 National and State House of Assembly elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Osun state.

Justice Babs Kuewumi while delivering his ruling said the court had ‎no jurisdiction to hear or rule on the suit, stating that only an election petition tribunal had the authority to hear any matter relating to elections.

Justice Kuewumi said although the second defendant, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Osun State, Ambassador Rufus Akeju, as at the time of the said election in question, did not obey the court order which restrained him from conducting the elections, the court had no jurisdiction to hear the suit.

While the INEC counsel declined to speak to the press, counsel to the PDP, Mr Kehinde Adesiyan, described the the ruling as erudite but maintained that the judgement would be appealed.

He stressed that since the case falls under pre-election matter, it doesn’t require an election tribunal to hear it.

The Peoples Democratic Party is seeking among other things the reversal of the elections as well as the withdrawal of certificates of return to the winners of the 2011 elections conducted which saw the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress clearing all the seats to the National and State House of Assembly.