Patience Jonathan asks court to set aside $5.8 million, N3.5 billion forfeiture order
Former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has asked the Federal High Court, Abuja, to set aside an order freezing her 16 separate bank accounts amounting to $5.8 million and N3.5 billion, on the ground that it has expired.
Mrs. Jonathan also told the court that the orders of interim forfeiture, including the one issued on October 10, have become spent and cannot be extended.She told the court that the original order was obtained by an improper use of court process by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In a deposition filed in court, the former First Lady stated that the Incorporated Trustees of Ariwabai Aruera Reachout Foundation, nine other companies and herself were owners of the sums.
The Federal High Court, Abuja, had on May 30, granted an ex-parte order in favour of the Federal Government against all the accounts owned and operated by the applicants.
According to Jonathan, the same Federal Government later, on October 10, went to the Federal High Court, Lagos and obtained another order made by Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, directing managers of Skye Bank, Eco Bank Plc , Fidelity Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc, to in the interim, freeze the various sums of money in the accounts belonging to Dame Patience Jonathan, Finchley Top Homes Limited and Ariwabai Aruera Reachout Foundation.
She added that prior to the grant of the ex-parte motion by the court in Abuja, the Federal Government had filed a similar application before Justice Olatoregun of Lagos Division but failed to disclose the fact that it had obtained same reliefs in Lagos.
Mrs. Jonathan is also contending that the owners of the money were never served with the interim order, and that they became aware of it during a hearing of a petition she lodged at the National Assembly.
When the matter came up for hearing yesterday before Justice Binta Nyako, counsel to Mrs. Jonathan, Mike Ozekhome, and that of the Federal Government, Richard Dauda, insisted that their applications must be taken first.
Dauda held that the Federal Government’s application, which sought to extend the interim order of forfeiture, should be taken first but Ozekhome insisted that the applicants’ motion should come first as it was challenging the order obtained by the Federal Government in error.Justice Nyako adjourned the matter till Thursday, next week, for hearing.
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