Patience Jonathan On Money Laundering
Former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of hiring mercenaries to plead guilty in the $15.5 million money laundering case linked to her.
Mrs. Jonathan expressed doubts about the authenticity of the representatives of the four companies who pleaded guilty to the 15-count charges of money laundering at a Federal High Court in Lagos presided over by Justice Babs Kuewumi yesterday.
When the case was called yesterday, the four companies announced their representation as follows: Friday David (Pluto Properties and Investment Company), Agbor Obaro (Sea Gate Property Development Company), Fredrick Dioghowori (Trans Ocean Property Ltd), and Taiwo Ebenezer (Avalon Global properties Ltd.).
After the charges were read to the accused, the four individuals representing the companies listed in the charge, each pleaded guilty to the offences. But the wife of the former President Goodluck Jonathan, in a statement by her media aide, Chima Osuji, stated that the antigraft agency presented four unknown people as representatives of the companies, all of who did not show letters authorising them by their respective boards to represent them in the case. According to her, “it is an irony.
It was the former first lady who went to court for the repatriation of her confiscated money when she realised that the EFCC and its co-travellers were playing politics with this issue after she had come out publicly to say that the said money belongs to her and that she has all evidence to prove the sources of her money. “Up till this very moment, EFCC has refused to interrogate or invite her for questioning. This is a clear evidence of the desperation of the prosecution to pull down the former First Lady and confiscate her hardearned money.
“The biggest twist in court on Thursday was that the fourth to seventh defendants pleaded guilty to all the 15-count charges. It is clear that these unknown faces were agents of the EFCC, who have been stage-managed and tutored to come to court to complicate the case as a strategy to confiscate her money.”
Mrs. Jonathan expressed disappointment that her well-earned image was being maligned in the court of public opinion through the “tissues of lies being churned out by the EFCC in respect of the matter.” While reiterating her respect for the sanctity and integrity of the judiciary as the bastion of hope for every citizen of the country, she said: “Mrs. Jonathan is not a director, shareholder, promoter and/or participant in any of the four companies now under trial and that she was the sole signatory to all the said accounts, contrary to the fabrication that she used her driver and cook as proxies.”
In the statement, Jonathan’s denied ever receiving any monies from unknown sources into her accounts and that the accounts were opened in order to facilitate her travel overseas, particularly for medical treatment, sundry purchase for herself and her late mother, Mrs. Charity Oba (Mama Sisi).
Osuji further argued that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants had earlier told the court through their counsel that their clients were challenging the validity of the representatives of Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited; Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Limited; Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited and Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited on the basis that they failed to produce a letter of authority to represent the companies as required under section 477 (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
The companies are facing a 15-count amended charge along with Waripamo- Owei Emmanuel Dudafa, a former aide to ex-President Jonathan; a lawyer, Amajuoyi Azubuike Briggs and Adedamola Bolodeoku. While Dudafa and the two others pleaded not guilty, the fourth to seventh defendants pleaded guilty to the charge. The EFCC has since frozen the companies’ accounts with Skye Bank, while Mrs. Jonathan has sued the commission and the bank, laying claims to the accounts.