The companies, Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Limited, Transocean Property and Investment Company Limited and Globus Integrated Service Limited, had prayed the court to reverse their guilty plea and nullify the previous proceedings because those who represented the company were not authorised to do so.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, arraigned them alongside a former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to President Jonathan, Dr Waripamo Dudafa; a lawyer, Amajuoyi Briggs, who is the companies’ secretary, and a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku, with Skye Bank Plc.
Dudafa, Briggs and Bolodeoku pleaded not guilty to the 17-count charge.
The companies’ lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, told Justice Babs Kuewumi that his clients were not given a fair trial before their conviction because they had no legal representation of their choice.
Ozekhome said he was briefed to represent the companies after its directors pleaded guilty despite not being authorised by the board to do so.
He asked that the trial be done de novo (afresh) and the previous proceedings declared null, void and unsustainable in law.
But, prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo urged the court to refuse the application for being an abuse of court process.
According to him, it amounted to asking the judge to revisit his ruling and to assume the position of an appellate court.
Ruling on the application, Justice Kuewumi held that a lower court can only reserve himself in exceptional cases where there is “a serious procedural irregularity” or where the court lacks jurisdiction.
The matter has been adjourned till October 17 for hearing.