Former Nigeria First Lady, Patience Jonathan Photo: Twitter

By Ige Olugbenga

The Court of Appeal in Lagos has fixed July 12 to hear the appeal by the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience.

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The former first lady is seeking to stop the forfeiture of her $5.7million and N2,421,953,522.78 to the federal government.

The action is sequel to an order obtained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on April 26, from the Federal High Court in Lagos, temporarily forfeiting the cash to the government.

The Commission told Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, who made the order, that the funds are suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.

It said the $5.7m is part of the $6,791,599.64 (about N2.1billion) which Jonathan allegedly directed her aides to pay into her account between February 8, 2013 and January 30, 2015, while her husband was President.

Jonathan, the Commission said, had already spent $949, 282.98 (about N296, 141,911) from the money.

It said she also withdrew another $100,000 from the account in April, leaving a balance of $5,731,173.55.

Justice Olatoregun also ordered the temporary forfeiture of the N2,421,953,522.78 found in an Ecobank Nigeria Ltd account numbered 2022000760 in the name of La Wari Furniture and Baths Ltd..

Justice Olatoregun had on May 22 suspended proceedings in the hearing of the EFCC’s application seeking permanent forfeiture of the cash pending the appellate court’s decision on the interim order.

She granted the applications of Jonathan’s lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) and that of the counsel for La Wari Furniture and Baths, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) for a stay.

Adedipe said he had filed an application for stay of proceedings pending the appeal’s determination.

Ozekhome added that once an appeal had been entered, the lower court ought to stay proceedings.

He added that the Court of Appeal had already fixed yesterday to hear the case.

Jonathan, in the notice of appeal, is praying the court to hold that the law cited by the EFCC in its ex-parte application for the temporary forfeiture was inapplicable.

“A judge is bound by the prayers on the motion paper, and the court has no jurisdiction to make a case for a party different from that presented by the said party,” she said.