Thursday, July 6, 2017 10:58 pm
The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division has fixed July 12 to hear an appeal filed before it by the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, seeking to stop the forfeiture of her $5.7million and N2, 421,953,522.78 to the Federal Government.
The appeal arose from an order obtained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the 26th of April 2017, at the Federal High Court in Lagos, temporarily forfeiting the cash to the government.
The order of the court to temporarily forfeit the money to the Federal Government was as a result of application that the funds were suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
The anti – graft agency said the N5.7m was part of the $6,791,599.64 (about N2.1billion) which Mrs Jonathan allegedly directed her aides to pay into her account between February 8, 2013 and January 30, 2015, while her husband was the President was suspicious.
Mrs. Jonathan, the commission said, had earlier spent $949, 282.98 (about N296, 141,911) from the money.
It said she also withdrew another $100,000 from the account in April, leaving a balance of $5,731,173.55.
The presiding judge Mojisola Olatoregun ordered the temporary forfeiture of the N2, 421,953,522.78 found in an Ecobank Nigeria Ltd account numbered 2022000760 in the name of La Wari Furniture and Baths Ltd.
On May 22, Justice Olatoregun suspended proceedings in the hearing of the EFCC’s application seeking permanent forfeiture of the cash pending the appellate court’s decision on the interim order.
She granted the applications of Mrs Jonathan’s lawyer, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) and that of Counsel for La Wari Furniture and Baths, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) for a stay of proceedings.
Adedipe said he had filed an application for stay of proceedings pending the determination of their appeal
Ozekhome added that once an appeal had been entered, the lower court ought to stay further proceedings.
Besides, he said, the Court of Appeal had already fixed date to hear the case.
Mrs Jonathan, in the notice of appeal, is praying the court to hold that the law cited by the EFCC in its ex-parte application for the temporary forfeiture was inapplicable.
“A judge is bound by the prayers on the motion paper, and the court has no jurisdiction to make a case for a party different from the one that is presented by the said party,” the appellant said.