By Andy Chukwu
A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the permanent seizure of $8.4 million (about N3billion) and N9.2 billion, belonging to Patience Jonathan, wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun gave the order in line with an application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
EFCC had argued that the money was suspected to be proceeds of crime while giving the breakdown of the money as $3.65 million, $4.7 million, N1.81 billion, N226.38 million, N1.09 billion, N39.42 million, N7.22 million, N55.94 million, N174.17 million, N858.93 million, N1.81 billion, N1.1 billion, N317.40 million, N1.90billion and $429.39million.
In her ruling, Olatoregun held that Mrs Jonathan could not prove that the money was legitimately earned.
“I have no doubts that these monies are proceeds of unlawful activities,” the judge said.
She said there were no evidences to show why the sums were paid into the said accounts, adding that it was the duty of the respondent to relate the document to the sums of money.
“I am satisfied that the respective sums are liable to be forfeited to the federal government, the respondent having failed to show cause,” the judge said.
The judge ordered that the sums be paid into the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as the federal government’s account.
Joined in the suit as respondents were Patience Jonathan, Globus Integrated Services Ltd, Finchley Top Homes Ltd, Am-Pm Global Network Ltd, Pagmat Oil and Gas Ltd and Magel Resort Ltd and Esther Oba, younger sister to Jonathan.
On October 29, 2018, Rotimi Oyedepo, EFCC counsel, had moved his motion for final forfeiture of the money to the federal government.
Meanwhile, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), Mike Ozekhome (SAN), and Ige Asemudara had respectively moved processes in opposition to the motion for final forfeiture.
The court had on January 15 admitted electronic evidences presented by respondent counsels, which depicted videos showing various business outfits of Finchley Top Homes Ltd. and Magel Resort Ltd.
But in a judgment delivered on February 28, the court held that it found the affidavit evidences conflicting, adding that same could only be resolved by oral evidences of parties.
The court had consequently ordered parties to call their witnesses to give oral evidences.
In compliance, counsels to the parties called witnesses to testify in the suit.
The witness included Orji Chukwuma(EFCC operative), Esther Oba, Waripamo Dudafa, a former aide of Jonathan, and Achonye Obinna who testified for Am-Pm Global Network and Okwu Emmanuel who testified for Pagmat Oil and Gas.