Court Strikes Out EFCC’s Forfeiture Application for Patience Jonathan to Keep Alleged $8.4m, N9.1bn Loot  

Former first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, appears to have had the last laugh in her battle with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged multi-billion naira loot.

A Federal High Court, Lagos, today, struck out a forfeiture application filed by the EFCC over the sum of $8, 435,789.84 million USD, and N9,185, 327, 362 billion, linked to the former First Lady and six others.

According to Court papers, the monies were in custody of Skye Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, Stanbic-IBTC and First Bank Plc.

Joined as respondents alongside Mrs. Jonathan in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1918/2017, are: Globus Integrated Service Limited, Finchley Top Homes Limited, AM-PM Global Network Limited, Pagmat Oil and Gas Limited, Magel Resort Limited, and one Esther Oba.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun struck out the application, for being an abuse of court processes.

The Court had earlier granted an exparte application filed by the EFCC, temporarily forfeiting the said amount, after it ordered the Commission to file an affidavit showing that the said sums are not subject of litigation.

Striking out the suit, Justice Olatoregun said that the anti-graft agency had not shown enough evidence to reflect that matter before her court was not subject of litigation before any other court.

Before striking out the suit, the judge berated EFCC for its habit of carrying out media trial against suspects rather than doing justice to accused persons and the society.

She also criticised EFCC’s act of forum shopping, running from one court to another, in order to denigrate and malign suspects without putting their acts together.

She ruled that it was an abuse of court process to file similar cases such as the one before her in different divisions of the Federal High Court as the EFCC did before Justice Nyako, herself and Justice Tsoho of Abuja and Lagos Divisions of the same Federal High Court.

She held that fighting corruption does not equate to not respecting citizens rights.

She consequently, struck out the EFCC’s application for being abuse of court processes.

Before today’s ruling, Mrs. Jonathan, through her lawyers, Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe and Mr. Mike Ozekhomeh, both Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SANs) had earlier told the court to dismiss the EFCC’s application against their clients, for being abuse of court processes.

In one of the hearing of the matter, the two Senior lawyers had told the Court that the EFCC had filed similar application before a Federal High Court, Abuja, which is yet to be determined, before the application of the same matter and subject matter was filed before the Court.

However, the EFCC through its lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo had told the Court that his employer, EFCC, had filed a notice of discontinuation on the case before Justice Binta Nyanko.

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