Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Wednesday fixed February 11, 2019 to deliver a judgment in an application seeking final forfeiture of $4.8million and N7.4billion allegedly linked to Patience Jonathan, the immediate past First Lady.
EFCC filed the application against the former First Lady and six others.
The others are Globus Integrated Services Ltd., Finchley Top Homes Ltd., Am-Pm Global Network Ltd., Pagmat Oil and Gas Ltd. Magel Resort Ltd., and Esther Oba, as the second to the seventh respondents, respectively.
On April 20, 2018, the anti-graft commission, via an ex-parte application, obtained an order for interim forfeiture of the money.
On October 29, 2018, Rotimi Oyedepo, counsel to EFCC, filed an application for final forfeiture of the sums.
At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, Oyedepo told the court that the EFCC had filed and served a further affidavit to the respondents’ application to show cause.
Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), counsel to the respondents, however, opposed paragraphs 8 to 12 of the affidavit, and prayed the court to expunge them. He said the prosecution raised new issues in an attempt to discredit a video exhibit on the case, instead of responding to existing issues.
However, Olatoregun held that there was no need to expunge the paragraphs, noting that no new issues were raised.
In his submission for final forfeiture, Oyedepo told the court that Jonathan fraudulently diverted funds from the Women for Change Initiative, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) linked to her.
According to him, most of the funds were fraudulently diverted from the NGO to other accounts of the second to sixth respondents — companies said to be owned by the former first lady.
“Women for Change Initiative is not joined in this suit. We are not asking for forfeiture of its money; the funds have been converted and that is an unlawful act," Oyedepo said.
He further told the court that Jonathan signed some of the fund transfer instructions personally, and also signed using other people’s names and passport photographs. Oyedepo also said that as regards the $8.4million, the first respondent (Jonathan) had not been able to disclose to the court the identities of those who made the donations. He said the EFCC attached exhibits to show that the former first lady was the sole signatory to the companies’ accounts.
“The funds we are seeking to forfeit from the second to sixth respondents are not funds from their legitimate businesses, but those traced from the NGO,” Oyedepo said.