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Court strikes out EFCC’s forfeiture suit against Patience Jonathan


Patience Jonathan

Appeal Court sets aside judgment unfreezing Fayose’s accounts

A federal High Court, Lagos, yesterday struck out a suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking forfeiture to the Federal Government $5.316 million linked to the former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan and six others domiciled in Skye Bank Plc.

The trial judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, struck out the suit at the instance of the EFCC, which had applied to the court to strike out the suit.Other beneficiaries of the ruling are five firms, which were having N7.418 billion and one Esther Oba, who is said to be having $429.381 million.

However, at the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, counsel to other respondents, except Skye Bank Plc, Mr. Ige Asemudara, told the court that he was duly informed by the EFCC counsel, Mr. Mohammed Idris, who was equally in court, that the anti-graft agency had signified to discontinue with the suit by filing a notice of discontinuance.

He, therefore, urged the court to strike out the suit.In another development, the Court of Appeal sitting in Ado-Ekiti has set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court which unfreeze the accounts of Governor Ayo Fayose with the Zenith Bank Plc.

The three-man panel, led by Justice Joseph Ikyegh, allowed the appeal filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Fayose on the ground that Justice Taiwo Taiwo lacked jurisdiction to void an interim injunction given by another court of co-ordinate jurisdiction.

The court held that it amounts to forum shopping for the respondent to have gone to Ekiti Federal High Court instead of approaching the Lagos High Court, which gave the interim order to vacate the order.

According to the justices, the trial court took over the function of the Appeal Court by setting aside the judgment of the brother court. They held that the EFCC in its brief of appeal had convinced them that the accounts were used to keep funds suspected to be proceeds of crime.The Appeal Court, therefore, allowed the appeal and held that Fayose’s accounts, which were unblocked by the Federal High Court, be frozen.

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