A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Monday ordered the final forfeiture of the 8.4 million dollars and N7.4 billion found in accounts linked to a former First Lady, Patience Jonathan.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had sought a final forfeiture of the sums found in various accounts linked to the former first lady.
EFCC had secured an interim order for forfeiture of the sums on April 20, 2018 before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, following a motion exparte.
Joined in the suit as respondents are: Patience Jonathan, Globus Integrated Services Ltd, Finchley Top Homes Ltd., Am-Pm Global Network Ltd, Pagmat Oil and Gas Ltd and Magel Resort Ltd and Esther Oba, younger sister to Mrs Jonathan.
EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, had on Oct. 29, 2018, moved his motion for final forfeiture of the sums to the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, defence counsels, Messrs Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), and Mr Ige Asemudara had respectively moved processes in opposition to the motion for final forfeiture.
The court on Jan. 15 admitted electronic evidences presented by respondent counsels, which depicted videos showing various business outfits of Finchley Top Homes Ltd. and Magel Resort Ltd.
But in a judgment delivered on Feb. 28, the court held that it found the affidavit evidences conflicting, adding that same could only be resolved by oral evidences of parties.
The court had consequently ordered parties to call their witnesses to give oral evidences.
In compliance, counsels to the parties called witnesses to testify in the suit.
The witness included: Mr Orji Chukwuma(EFCC operative), Esther Oba, Waripamo Dudafa and Achonye Obinna who testified for Am-Pm Global Network and Okwu Emmanuel who testified for Pagmat Oil and Gas.
The court then reserved judgment for July 1.
Delivering judgment, Justice Olatoregun highlighted all arguments, counter arguments, and submissions of counsels as well as the facts deposed to in the affidavits, counter affidavits and further affidavits.
The court held that it did not find the video evidences tendered by the respondent relevant to the facts as narrowed down by the applicant.
“I have no doubts that these monies are proceeds of unlawful activities,” the judge stated.
Olatoregun said there were no evidences to show why the sums were paid into the said accounts, adding that it was the duty of the respondent to relate the document to the sums of money.
”I am satisfied that the respective sums are liable to be forfeited to the federal government, the respondent having failed to show cause,” the judge said.
She ordered that the sums be paid into the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, as well as the Federal Government’s account.
The court further ordered the commission to file an affidavit of compliance within 14 days.
By John Owen Nwachukwu