Lagos High Court strikes out EFCC forfeiture application against Mrs. Patience Jonathan
Fresh efforts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to re-impose a suspension order on the accounts of former First Lady Mrs. Patience Jonathan and her relatives have suffered a setback as Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos on Monday struck out an application of an interim forfeiture order brought before it by the anti-graft agency.
The EFFCC had filed an application for interim order of forfeiture against the accounts of Mrs. Jonathan and her siblings but her lawyers led by Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) opposed the application based on the fact that similar applications were pending before other courts in Abuja, which they claimed amounted to forum shopping and judicial abuse of court process.
The team of lawyers which also included Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), and Charles Ogbolu submitted attachments to prove that the same process was currently before other courts of co-ordinate jurisdiction, including the applications before Justice Binta Nyako and Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, both of the Federal High Court Abuja.
It was based on the evidence of multiplicity of an action provided by Mrs. Jonathan’s lawyers that Justice Olateregun rejected EFCC application for an interim order of forfeiture.
It would be recalled that Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja had last December lifted an order made on May 30, freezing 16 bank accounts linked to wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience.
Justice Nyako in her ruling ordered the lifting of the freezing order that barred Mrs. Jonathan, her relatives and 10 organizations linked to her from accessing the accounts containing aggregate sums of $5.8million and N3.5billion.
The ruling followed an application that Mrs. Jonathan and the 10 companies filed to challenge an ex-parte interim freezing order earlier obtained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Listed as applicants with Mrs. Jonathan, in the application, are the Incorporated Trustees of Ariwabai Aruera Reachout Foundation, Pagmat Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited, Flinchley Top Homes Limited, Incorporated Trustees of Women for Change and Development Initiative Nigeria, Transocean Property and Investment Ltd, Seagate Property Development Investment Company, Globus Integrated Services and Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited.
Justice Nyako upheld the applicants that the interim forfeiture order had elapsed and could not be renewed by the EFCC.