Immediate past Nigeria’s First Lady Patience Jonathan has urged a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to strike out an application filed against her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Concise News understands that the EFCC had seized a whopping amount of $.5.7m and N2.4bn owned by the former First lady.
Lawyer to Mrs Jonathan, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) urged Justice Mojirayo Olatoregun to order the EFCC to release the money confiscated and also to dismiss the application by the Anti-graft agency.
The EFCC is requesting the court to permanently forfeit the money to the Federal Government.
Adedipe disclosed that Patience received the money as a gift when her husband was in office.
He said, “It is not the law that if the EFCC finds money in an account and it doesn’t like the owner’s face, it comes to court and says forfeit it.
“The government is at liberty to apply for forfeiture but the offence must be stated.”
Adedipe told the court that there was no explanation for the money to be forfeited to the FG since the anti-corruption body had not justified that the money was stolen by the wife of the former president.
“All that the EFCC said was that they saw money in her account and assumed it was stolen. They didn’t say from who,” he said.
On the other hand, a human rights and constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), standing for La Wari Furniture and Baths, whose accounts were frozen in connection to the case, informed the court that the N2.4bn found in his clients’ accounts was legitimate.
Ozekhome said, “It is settled law that suspicion, no matter how grave, can never amount to legal evidence to prove the guilt or culpability of anyone either in criminal or civil proceedings.
“They have not brought anybody to complain that money is missing. It is not a crime that La Wari Furniture and Baths had made money.’’
Though, the EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, contended that the money was the proceeds of crime.
He said, “The $5m was not the first respondent’s (Patience’s) legitimate earnings. She was a public servant and a salary earner. The sums cannot be her legitimate income.
“We urge the court to agree with us and forfeit the sum to the Federal Government.”
He said the bank account in which the N2.4bn was found “was shrouded in mystery and fraud”.
Oyedepo said that when questioned by the EFCC, a director of La Wari Furniture and Baths, Mrs Oyewole Yemisi, claimed not to know anything about the company and that her signature was forged.
However, the matter was adjourned until June 24 for judgement.