Court convicts companies of laundering Patience Jonathan’s $15.5m

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

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 had in August frozen the accounts of the four companies and seized the $15m in the course of probing Dudafa for money laundering.

But wife of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan had sued the EFCC and Skye Bank, claiming ownership of the $15.5m.

On Thursday, Justice Babs Kuewumi convicted the four companies of laundering the $15.5m.

The companies had on September 15, 2016 pleaded guilty to laundering the money when they were arraigned by the EFCC along with Dudafa, a lawyer, Amajuoyi Briggs; and a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku.

But Dudafa, Briggs and Bolodeoku pleaded not guilty.

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

Oyedepo tolf 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 accounts 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,” the judge held.

Following the companies’ conviction, Oyedepo urged the court to order the forfeiture of the money to the Federal Government.

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

But the judge declined the application, saying he would reserve decision on the money till the end of the case. He noted that there was still Patience suit, where she is claiming ownership of the money.

EFCC Arraigns Ex-Ministers, Fani-Kayode, Nenadi-Usman For Allegedly Laundering N4.9 billion

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday arraigned a former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, accusing him and three others of laundering N4.9 billion.

A planned arraignment of Mr. Fani-Kayode was stalled last Tuesday by the absence of the trial judge.

Judge Sule Hassan’s absence was said to be due to an “official function”.

Mr. Fani-Kayode, who served as director of media and publicity during the campaign of former President Goodluck Jonathan, is facing a 17-count charge bordering on unlawful retention, use, and payment of money in the tune of about N4.9 billion.

Others charged alongside the former minister are Nenadi Usman, former finance minister; Danjuma Yusuf; and a company, Joint Trust Dimension Nig. Ltd.

According to the EFCC’s charge, the accused were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015.

In counts one to seven, they were alleged to have unlawfully retained over N3.8 billion which they “reasonably ought to have known” formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of stealing and corruption.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Dokpesi Pleads Not Guilty To Money Laundering Charges

The proprietor of Africa Independent Television, Mr Raymond Dokpesi, has pleaded not guilty to a six-count charge of fraudulent and corrupt act preferred against him by the Federal government of Nigeria.

Mr Dokpesi was arraigned on Wednesday before a Federal High Court presided over by Justice Gabriel Kolawole in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He said he was absolutely not guilty, as the charges preferred against him were not true.

In count one of the charge, Mr Dokpesi and DAAR Investment and Holding Company Limited were accused of receiving public funds to the tune of 2.1 billion Naira from the account of the office of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria for the funding of media activities for the 2015 presidential campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) contrary to Section 58 Sub-section Four B of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.

In the other counts, Mr Dokpesi was also accused of collecting the said amount without a certificate of no objection to contract award duly issued by the Public Procurement Bureau and receiving payment for a purported contract without bidding for the said contract.

Having pleaded not guilty to all the charges, Justice Kolawole adjourned the hearing of Mr Dokpesi’s bail application to December 10.

Credit: ChannelsTV