The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed April 13 for the hearing of an application seeking the final forfeiture of the sum of $5.8million USD and another ₦2.4 billion, alleged to have been illegally acquired by former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan.
Justice Chika Obiozor fixed the date on Monday after lawyers involved in the matter appeared before him.
In 2017 it would be recalled; the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had filed the suit seeking forfeiture of the said monies to the Federal Government.
The case was initially assigned to Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, who retired from the bench in 2019.
But before her retirement, the judge had ordered the temporary forfeiture of the funds which were said to be domiciled in Skye Bank Plc and Ecobank Plc respectively.
And this decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
At the resumed hearing of the matter today, EFCC’s counsel, Abass Muhammad, narrated to Justice Obiozor the path the case has gone through.
“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, a property of LA Wari Furniture and Bathes in Ecobank Plc.
Lawyers to the defendant, Kolawole Salami and Ige Asemudara though agreed with the prosecutor’s submission, however submitted that the matter ought to commence ‘den Ovo’, (afresh) since it’s before a new court.
After listening to all the submissions, Justice Obiozor, said he could not upturn the exparte order made by Justice Olatoregun, but he would proceed with the hearing of the application for final forfeiture.
Parties then agreed to adjourn hearing of the application to April 13.
The commission had told Justice Olatoregun that the N2.4billion was found in an Ecobank Nigeria Ltd account in the name of La Wari Furniture and Baths Ltd.
The company is the second respondent in the suit.
Urging the court to order the final forfeiture, EFCC said: “The $5million was not the first respondent’s (Mrs Jonathan’s) legitimate earning.
“She was a public servant and a salary earner. The sums cannot be her legitimate income. We urge the court to agree with us and forfeit the sum to the Federal Government.”