Court hears forfeiture suit against Patience Jonathan May 24

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Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has fixed May 24 for hearing of a forfeiture case against ex-First Lady, Patience Jonathan.

The court had on April 26, 2017, ordered the temporary forfeiture of $5.7million and N2,421,953,522.78 allegedly belonging to Mrs Jonathan.

The judge made the order based on an ex-parte application by EFCC.

EFCC said the N2.4billion was found in an Ecobank Nigeria Ltd account number 2022000760 in the name of La Wari Furniture and Baths Ltd.

Following the temporary forfeiture, Mrs Jonathan, through her lawyer Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) and Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), appealed.

The Court of Appeal, last January 12, upheld the temporary forfeiture. Dissatisfied with the verdict, Mrs Jonathan appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court, on March 15, affirmed the Court of Appeal judgment, directing the appellant to return to the trial court to show cause why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal government.

The Supreme Court also rejected her prayer to strike out the provisions of Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud Act, which EFCC relied on in filing the application.

At the resumed hearing of the suit on Wednesday, EFCC’s lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo, said he received two affidavits from Ozekhome on April 29.

One of them, he said, was a counter-affidavit to the motion on notice for final forfeiture, and a further affidavit.

He said EFCC filed and served its reply to the SAN’s motions on Tuesday.

Responding, Ozekhome said: “We got their affidavit at 5.5pm yesterday (Tuesday). A plethora of exhibits were attached. Their affidavit is replete with new facts.

“These are facts that are weighty, so weighty that they require us to respond. We don’t want any of their facts to be deemed admitted because we did not respond.

“I was served with a bulky document which has things that were not part of the original application.

“I’m only saying that in the interest of justice, we need to react to those issues raised.”

Adedipe said he had no objections to Ozekhome’s request for adjournment.

Granting the adjournment, Justice Olatoregun said there must be an end to litigation.

“I hope parties realise that there must be an end to backward and forward filing of applications,” she said.

After listening to the submission of the parties, Justice Olatoregun adjourned until May 24.

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