Court suspends hearing in Jonathan’s cash forfeiture case
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday suspended proceedings in the hearing of an application seeking permanent forfeiture of $5.7 million belonging to the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience.
The judge stayed proceedings pending the outcome of an appeal filed by Mrs. Jonathan challenging the order of temporary forfeiture of the money. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is praying the court to order that the cash be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
The court on April 26 made an interim order forfeiting the money based on an application by EFCC, which said the money was suspected to be proceed of crime.
Justice Olatoregun had also ordered the temporary forfeiture of N2,421,953,522.78 found in an Ecobank Nigeria Limited account number 2022000760 in the name of La Wari Furniture and Baths Limited. The commission said the money is also linked to Mrs. Jonathan.
Counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo told the judge yesterday that he was ready to move his application for the money’s forfeiture. He said the respondents had filed counter-affidavits.
Mrs. Jonathan’s counsel, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), said he filed an application for stay of proceedings pending the appeal’s determination. Counsel for La Wari Furniture and Baths, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), added that once an appeal had been entered, the lower court ought to stay proceedings, adding that the Court of Appeal had already fixed July 5 to hear the case.
Justice Olatoregun in her ruling said: “I have seen the hearing notice issued by the Court of Appeal. I will, therefore, adjourn this case till September 20.”