Court to hear final forfeiture case in Patience Jonathan’s $5.8m, N2.4bn, March 28

Wed, Feb 15, 2023
By editor


A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, adjourned till March 28, 2023, to hear the final forfeiture application of the sum of $845,316.66 and N2,421,953,522.78, said to belong to the former first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan.

Trial judge, Justice Tijjani Ringim, adjourned the matter after an argument of counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN.

Defence counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, and Sammie Somiari, SAN, had applied to the court that the case be adjourned sine die pending the outcome of the appeal.

The first and second defendants are La Wari Furniture and Baths Limited and former first lady, Patience Jonathan.

But Oyedepo opposed the application, contending that the Supreme Court had ruled on the final forfeiture application, which was binding on any other court.

He said: “My Lord, the only motion ripe for hearing, which is binding on my lord in view of Supreme Court judgment is that of final forfeiture.”

Justice Ringim, after taking arguments from counsel, upheld Oyedepo’s submissions and directed that motion for final forfeiture will be taken and determined first as canvassed by the EFCC counsel.

The judge, thereafter, adjourned the case to March 28, for the hearing of the application for final forfeiture.

It will be recalled that Justice Cecilia Olatoregun, now retired, had on April 26, 2017, while granting exparte application for the interim forfeiture of the said sums filed by the EFCC, ordered that the said sums warehoused by Skye Bank and Ecobank Nigeria Plc, be forfeited in the interim.

The order which was challenged up to Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court ordered that the lower court should continue with the hearing of the matter.

However, upon Justice Olatoregun’s retirement, the suit was transferred to Justice Chuka Obiozor.

But before Justice Obiozor could hear the matter, he was transferred to another jurisdiction of the court, consequently, the matter was inherited by Justice Ringim.