Former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan has picked holes in the authenticity of the representatives of the four companies who pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges of money laundering at a Federal High Court in Lagos, presided over by Justice Babs Kuewumi.
The 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants 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 2nd Amended Charge along with Waripamo Dudafa, a former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, and two others. While Dudafa and the two others pleaded not guilty, the fourth to seventh defendants whose authenticity as the true representatives of the company was challenged proceeded to curiously plead guilty and admitted culpability before the court.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (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.
The former First Lady’s through her media aide, Chima Osuji alleged that the EFCC 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. “This is a clear evidence of the desperation of the prosecution to pull down the former First Lady and confiscate her hard-earned money,” he quipped.
Osuji stated: “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.
He further said: “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.” The aide reiterated the respect of his boss for the sanctity and integrity of the judiciary as the bastion of hope for every citizen of the country.
He however expressed disappointment that Mrs. Jonathan 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.”
He continued that “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”.
Finally, he said Mrs Jonathan has denied ever receiving any monies from any 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).