A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, fixed April 13 for the hearing of final forfeiture of $5,781,173; $55 million and N2.4 billion, allegedly acquired by former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan.
Justice Chuka Obiozor adjourned till April 13 after counsel to the parties appeared before the court over the matter.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had sometimes in 2017 commenced the hearing of the suit against Mrs Jonathan alongside LA Wari Furniture and Bathes before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, who retired from the Bench in 2019.
The monies were said to be warehoused by Skye Bank Plc and Ecobank Plc respectively. Justice Olatoregun had on April 26, 2017, ordered the temporary forfeiture of the monies, sequel to an ex-parte application by EFCC, the order which was affirmed by both Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
However, midway to the conclusion of hearing on the final forfeiture on the said money, Justice Olatoregun retired from the Bench, the development compelled the Chief Registrar of the court to re-assign the matter to Justice Obiozor for hearing.
At the resumed hearing of the matter, yesterday, EFCC’s counsel, Mr Abass Muhammad, narrated to Justice Obiozor how far the matter had gone. Abass said: “This matter is a suit instituted before your learned brother, Justice Olatoregun now retired, where we prayed for the final forfeiture of the sum of $5.781,173, 55 million USD, warehoused in Skye Bank Plc and N2. 421, 953, 502. 78 billion, the property of LA Wari Furniture and Bathes in Ecobank Plc.
“It was instituted and an interim order was granted on April 24, 2017, upon which it went up to Supreme Court and application for its final forfeiture was moved but the trial judge didn’t deliver judgment before retiring. “It was upon that fact that the file was transferred to the registry where it was reassigned to this court.”
Mr Kolawole Salami, who stood-in for Patience Jonathan’s counsel, Mr Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), conceded to the submission of the EFCC’s counsel. With the consent of parties and court’s convenience, the matter was adjourned till April 13 for the commencement of the hearing of all applications on the matter.