Former first lady, Patience Jonathan

By Victor Ernest

The Federal High Court in Lagos, on Monday, adjourned hearing till April 6, on a N200m suit filed by the wife of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, against Skye Bank Plc and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), challenging the freezing of her account with the bank.

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The judge presiding over the case, Justice Mohammed Idris, made the declaration on Monday.

Other defendants

Other defendants in the suit is a former Special Assistant to ex-President Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa; and four companies linked with Dudafa.

The four companies are Pluto Property and Investment Company Ltd; Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Ltd; Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Ltd; and Avalon Global Property Development Ltd.

The proceedings

At Monday’s proceedings, the 5th and 6th defendants, however, brought an application to change their counsels to Mike Ozekhome SAN and Ige Asemudara respectively, a move which was not objected.

It would be recalled that Patience Jonathan had filed the suit to challenge the ‘No Debit Order’ placed by the EFCC on the accounts of the four companies domiciled with Skye Bank Plc.

The EFCC froze the $15,591,700 found in the companies’ accounts in July, 2016 in the course of investigating Dudafa for money laundering.

Patience, however, sued the EFCC, Skye Bank, Dudafa and the four companies, claiming that the frozen funds belonged to her.

At the last proceedings, Patience’s lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), told the court that he had served the relevant documents on all the defence counsel and he was ready to argue his client’s case.

However, counsel for the companies, Jeff Kadiri, who held the brief of Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), said he was only just briefed and needed time to file appropriate reply to the suit.

Adjournment

Kadiri urged Justice Idris to grant him a short adjournment to enable him file the necessary court papers.

Adedipe said he was not opposed to the application for an adjournment.

The suit

In the suit, Patience is seeking an order directing the EFCC to lift the restriction on four bank accounts opened in the names of the four companies linked with Dudafa.

She also wants damages in the sum of N200m against Skye Bank, for what she termed the violation of her fundamental right to own personal property.

But the four companies had on September 15, 2016 pleaded guilty to laundering the $15m before Justice Babs Kuewumi of the same court where they were arraigned alongside Dudafa, a lawyer, Amajuoyi Briggs; and a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku.

According to Tribune, the guilty plea was entered on behalf of the companies by Friday Davies, Agbo Baro, Bioghowri Frederick and Taiwo Ebenezer, who were registered as their directors at the Corporate Affairs Commission.