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 Wednesday, 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.
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 told the judge that the money was stolen from the State House, Abuja. 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 which the judge declined to carry out pending on the conclusion of the case.