Patience Jonathan loses bid to unfreeze account
Dudafa’s statement to EFCC was voluntarily made, court says
Former first lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, yesterday lost the bid to get her account unfrozen by the Federal High Court, Lagos.The account has in it $15.591 million.
Justice Mohammed Idris ordered parties to file pleading since issues have been joined as to the money’s ownership.The judge said all the defendants formulated different issues from that formulated by the plaintiff in the originating summons, which he said is unacceptable.
His words: “The issues formulated by all the defendants are baseless. They go to no issue and will be ignored by the court.’Justice Idris said where processes are not properly prepared, any defect would render the proceeding fatal as the court cannot re-formulate the issues for determination.
The judge further held that there is a contention as to issues and facts concerning money’s ownership.The commission had urged the court not to unfreeze the account because the money is suspected to be proceed of crime.
EFCC, Skye Bank Plc, Jonathan’s former aide Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, Pluto Property and Investment Company Ltd, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Ltd, Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Ltd and Avalon Global Property Development Ltd are the respondents.
The companies, through their representatives, had pleaded guilty to laundering the money last September 15 when they were arraigned before Justice Babs Kuewumi of the same court.
They were charged along with Dudafa, Briggs and a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku, for laundering the money.Unlike the companies, Dudafa, Briggs and Bolodeoku pleaded not guilty to the 17-count charge.
Meanwhile, a Federal High Court, Lagos, yesterday declared the statements made by Dudafa, while in custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as voluntary.
In his ruling on the trial within trial to ascertain the voluntariness of the statement to EFCC in the course of investigation, Justice Mohammed Idris held that the extra-judicial statements of the defendant can only be admissible if same are confessional in nature.
His words: “The question then is, are the statements confessional? A confession before the court can best be described as a judicial confession. A confession is that which is made before the police and any other security agent while investigation is on.’’
“There is no evidence before the court that the statements made by the defendant is not a confessional statement. I cannot therefore hold that the statements was not voluntarily made.”
Justice Idris further insisted that the statements in contention were made under caution and adjourned to June 21, 2017.Dudafa had contended that all his statements were dictated to him. He added that he was induced to sign the statements in exchange for his freedom.