Court orders final forfeiture of Patience Jonathan’s N9.2bn, $8.4m/

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ordered the final forfeiture of N9.2 million and $8.4 million dollars belonging to erstwhile First Lady, Patience, wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The presiding judge, Mojisola Olatoregun, gave the order in line with an application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, whose counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, in October 2018, moved a motion for the final forfeiture of the funds said to belong to the former First Lady.

The funds were domiciled in Diamond Bank, Fidelity Bank, Eco Bank, Stanbic bank, Skye Bank, Zenith Bank and First Bank.

According to Justice Olatoregun, there was not enough cause in the affidavits filed before the court to show that the N1.8 billion domiciled in Fidelity Bank, N256 million domiciled in Eco Bank, N1,085,000,000 billion naira domiciled in Eco Bank, N39.4 million in Diamond, N7 million in Diamond Bank, N1.8 billion in Fidelity Bank, N307 million Stanbic Bank, N55 million in Diamond, N1.8 billion in Fidelity Bank, N174 million in Diamond, N858 million in Zenith, $429,000 dollars in Skye Bank, $4 million dollars in First Bank, $4,136,000 million dollars in Skye Bank should not be classified as proceeds of unlawful activities.

Justice Olatoregun subsequently ordered the forfeiture of the sums totalling N9.2 billion and $8.4million to the federal government.

“Accordingly, the same funds reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities as defined in section 16 of Advanced Free Fraud and Related Offences Act and the EFCC Establishment Act, 2004, are hereby forfeited to the federal government of Nigeria.”

During prosecution, the EFCC had secured an interim order for forfeiture of the sums on April 20, 2018, before Justice Olatoregun.

In her defence, Patience Jonathan, through her counsel, had informed the court that the monies EFCC sought to be forfeited were proceeds of goodwill donations from Nigerians, which she enjoyed as the wife of a deputy governor, governor and president, and also proceeds of funds raised when she launched her NGO, Women 4 Change and Development Initiative, in 2010.

Goodluck Jonathan, before becoming Nigeria’s president, was Bayelsa deputy governor, governor, and vice president. He became president in 2010 following the death of late President Umaru Yar’Adua.

But iIn her ruling Monday, Justice Olatoregun held that Jonathan could not prove that the money was legitimately earned.

“I have no doubts that these monies are proceeds of unlawful activities,” the judge said, adding that there were no evidence 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.

Joined in the suit as respondents were 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 Jonathan.

 


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