Charles Ogboli, one of the defense lawyers representing Waripamo Dudafa in a $15.6m fraud case, today bullied some journalists at a Federal High Court, demanding that the reporters give up their seats for him and some allies of the accused he had brought along with him. The case indirectly involves former First Lady Patience Jonathan who has insisted that she owns the $15.6 million that is at the center of the fraud trial.
Mr. Ogboli, a failed governorship aspirant in Delta State, carried out the intimidation of reporters shortly after a recess in Justice Babs Kuewumi’s courtroom. Justice Kuewumi is presiding over the fraud case involving Mr. Dudafa, two other suspects and four companies accused of conspiring to commit fraud.
On entering the courtroom, Mr. Ogboli ordered five journalists to give up their seats, shouting that lawyers should not stand while journalists sat in the courtroom.
But the miffed reporters noted that, among those Mr. Ogboli forced them to vacate their seats for, was a woman who has been leading a pack of apparently rented protesters who have appeared in court singing the praises of Mrs. Jonathan.
Our correspondent reported that some of the reporters grudgingly gave up their seats, but their gesture did not stop Mr. Ogboli from raining abuses on one of the journalists who challenged his unruly approach in asking to reclaim his earlier seat.
In a raised voice, the lawyer shouted that he and other “lawyers” occupied the seats before the court went on recess, adding that they had the right to reclaim the same seats after the recess.
In numerous interviews, Mr. Ogboli had defended Mrs. Patience Jonathan’s claim that she was the legitimate owner of more than $20 million discovered in sheltered accounts operated by Mr. Dudafa and other fronts. In one report, the lawyer asserted that former President Goodluck Jonathan could have given his wife the $20 million found in one of the accounts that is the subject of the fraud trial.