Human rights lawyer Mike Ozekhome is to represent the four companies that pleaded guilty to laundering $15.5 million connected to ex-First Lady Patience Jonathan.
The Federal High Court in Lagos ruled to adopt the Senior Advocate of Nigeria as representative.
Justice Babs Kuewumi, gave this verdict on a dispute between Ozekhome and another lawyer, Luke Aghanenu, over who was the validly appointed legal representative of the four companies.
The court held that Aghanenu, who claimed to have been appointed by the companies’ directors, was not properly briefed.
Ozekhome had filed an application on behalf of the convicted companies asking the court to nullify the guilty plea entered by them, when Aghanenu was representing them, on the basis that they were not given fair hearing.
The companies are – 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 Limited.
In Sept 2016, the companies had pleaded guilty to laundering the sum of $15.5m on behalf of Mrs Jonathan.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) subsequently arraigned them alongside a former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to President Jonathan, Waripamo Dudafa, a lawyer, Amajuoyi Briggs and a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku.
While the companies pleaded guilty to the charges, Dudafa, Briggs and Bolodeoku however pleaded not guilty.
Shortly after their plea, Ozekhome had then appeared in court to take over the case and subsequently asked Justice kuewunmi to nullify the guilty plea of the companies on the ground that the identities of those who “purportedly” pleaded guilty on their behalf were “unverified”.