Nigeria’s former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan had prayed a Federal High Court in Abuja to unfreeze her 16 separate bank accounts which have total sums of $5.8 million and N3.5 billion deposited in them.
The court had on May 30, following an ex parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), ordered the freezing of the said accounts.
However on Thursday, wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan approached the court with an application seeking that the order of the court on her 16 accounts be set aside.
She argued that the court’s orders of interim forfeiture including a subsequent one issued on October 10, 2017 had expired.
She further argued that the order could not be extended since it was at first obtained by an inappropriate use of court process by the EFCC.
In an affidavit filed in support of the application, Mrs. Jonathan contended that the sums of money belonged to herself, her Ariwabai Aruera Reachout Foundation, and nine other companies.
The affidavit partly read, “That the same Federal Government later went to Lagos and obtained another order made by Justice C.M.A. Olatoregun of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division on October 10, 2017 directing the managers of the Skye Bank, Ecobank Plc , Fidelity Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, and Diamond Bank Plc, to in the interim, freeze and attach the various sums of money in the accounts belonging to Dame Patience Jonathan, Finchley Top Homes Limited and Ariwabai Aruera Reachout Foundation.
“That prior to the grant of the ex parte motion by the court in Abuja, the Federal Government had filed a similar application before Justice Olatoregun of the Lagos Division but failed to disclose the fact that it had obtained same relief in Lagos.”
According to her lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), who filed the application on her behalf, the owners of the money did not get served with the interim order of forfeiture.
He said they only came to the knowledge of it during a hearing of a petition by Mrs. Jonathan at the National Assembly.
Patience Jonathan’s application came just as the EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Richard Dauda, also on that Thursday prayed the presiding judge to hear his application seeking an order extending the forfeiture order placed on those accounts .
However Ozekhome contended that Mrs. Jonathan’s motion should take precedence over the EFCC’s since hers was challenging the order the anti-graft agency supposedly obtained in error.
The matter was subsequently adjourned by Justice Murtala Nyako until November 23, for hearing.
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