Patience Jonathan’s $8.4 Million Fraud case is being Reopened by the EFCC.
NewsReport June 29, 2021
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has reopened its investigation against ex-First Lady Patience Jonathan.
NewsReport gathered on Monday, June 28, 2021, Justice T.G. Ringim of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, adjourned the case until October 7, 2021, to hear a motion filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, seeking the final forfeiture of $5.78 million and N2.4 billion linked to a former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan.
In 2017, the EFCC applied to Justice Mojisola Olatoregun for the forfeiture of quantities of money warehoused in Skye Bank Plc and Ecobank Plc, respectively.
Following an ex-parte plea by the EFCC, Justice Olatoregun ordered the money’s temporary confiscation on April 26, 2017. Dissatisfied with the trial court’s decision, Jonathan and the other respondents, LA Wari Furniture and Baths, petitioned the Court of Appeal and then the Supreme Court to vacate the lower court’s decision. However, both the appellate and supreme courts upheld Justice Olatoregun’s decision.
Justice Olatoregun departed from the Bench in 2019 midway through the hearing on the application for final forfeiture of the aforementioned monies. As a result, the matter was reassigned to Justice Chuka Obiozor for hearing by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.
However, Justice Obiozor was unable to hear the matter before being transferred to the Federal High Court in Benin, Edo State. At today’s resumed hearing, the EFCC‘s attorney, Rotimi Oyedepo, told Justice Ringim how far the case had progressed.
“This is a non-conviction suit initiated before your learned brother, Justice Olatoregun, now retired, in which we petitioned for the ultimate forfeiture of the sum of $5,781,173.55, warehoused in Skye Bank Plc, and N2,421,953,502.78, property of LA Wari Furniture and Bathes in Ecobank Plc,” Oyedepo said.
“It was instituted, and an interim order was issued on April 24, 2017, after which it was appealed to the Supreme Court, and an application for final forfeiture was filed. However, the trial judge did not deliver the decision before retiring. Because of this, the file was transferred to the register, where it was reassigned to the old judge, and then to your Lordship.”
Counsel to Patience Jonathan, Ifedayo Adedipe, SAN, and Gboyega Oyewole, SAN, also informed the judge that the case was adjourned for mention because it was coming up for the first time before him.
Counsel to the companies, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, therefore, urged the court to adjourn the case on the premise that it was starting afresh and that he intended to file an application challenging the constitutionality of the entire proceedings.
He prayed the court for a long adjournment to enable him to file the said application.
In his response, Oyedepo opposed the application and prayed the court not to grant same, because, according to him, there is a procedure enshrined in Section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, which the EFCC had complied with except the last step, which is a motion for final forfeiture.
Oyedepo, therefore, invited the judge to look at the proceedings of February 17, 2021, where the former judge adjourned the hearing of the motion for final forfeiture till April 13, which could not be held because of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) strike.
He also prayed that should the court be inclined to grant an adjournment, it should be for the motion of final forfeiture.