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Jonathan’s wife: Absence of judge stalls hearing on forfeiture of funds

Patience Jonathan
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 By Onyewuchi Ojinnaka

Senior Correspondent

The hearing of a motion seeking forfeiture of funds linked to former first lady Mrs Patience Jonathan, wife of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, could not be heard on Monday February 12 due to absence of the presiding judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun who is attending a worshop for judicial officers

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had began fresh moves to seize funds amounting to $6.4 million and over N7.4 billion in 15 bank accounts linked to Mrs. Jonathan.

The suit which is before Justice Olatoregun of a Federal High Court Lagos  billed for hearing on Moday was therefore adjourned to February 14.

It would be recalled that at the last two adjournments , EFCC’s counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, had appeared before the court, seeking to move an ex parte application for a temporary forfeiture of the said funds.
The move was, however, interrupted by Mr Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), who challenged the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the ex parte application.

He had told the court that the funds on which the EFCC seeks a forfeiture order, were already subject of a pending litigation.

But counsel to the EFCC (Oyedepo) had maintained that the Silk lawyer had no right of audience in the court, since his application was ex parte (without notice to other parties).

Oyedepo had argued that he wondered how the Silk lawyer got wind of the application by the anti-graft agency in the first place, and urged the court to disregard his appearance.
The court had then upheld Oyedepo’s submission.

The judge had in last adjournment, directed the EFCC to file an affidavit to convince the court that there were no pending suits in relation to the same subject matter before the court.

In the said ex parte application, the EFCC listed Patience Jonathan and one Esther Oba as respondents.
Also listed as defendants were: Globus Integrated Services Ltd., Finchley Top Homes Ltd., Am-Pm Global Network Ltd., Pagmat Oil And Gas Ltd. and Magel Resort Ltd.

The ex parte application was supported by a 15-paragraph affidavit deposed to by an investigator with the EFCC, Huleji Tukura.