A Federal High Court sitting in Kano has ordered the interim forfeiture of N1billion linked to Patience Jonathan, wife of Nigeria’s former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The interim forfeiture followed a court order secured by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The money was lodged in three deposits with Fidelity Bank Plc on May 20 and 25, 2015.
The court, presided over by Justice A. Lewis-Allagoa, issued the forfeiture order in response to a motion ex parte filed by the anti-graft commission.
The money was found in the account of Magel Resort Limited, a company linked to the former First Lady Patience Jonathan, following information received by EFCC that a bank account domiciled in Fidelity Bank, had a huge sum of money that was not accounted for.
After preliminary investigation, it was revealed that Mrs. Jonathan and some relatives of the former president were directors of the Company. Others named as directors are Oba Oba Tamunotonye, Goodluck Jonathan Aruera, Goodluck Jonathan Ariwabai and Esther Fynface.
In tracing the origin of the funds, it was discovered that N500,000 was deposited on May 20, 2015 by Fynface, alleged to be in charge of the company, while N1billion was transferred in two tranches on the May 25, 2015 from Pagmat Oil And Gas Nigeria Limited, a company said not to be incorporated with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
Justice Lewis-Allagoa held that: “An interim forfeiture order is granted to the Federal Government in the sum of N1,000,494,000 (one billion, four hundred and ninety four thousand naira only) in the bank account of the 1st respondent, Magel Resort Limited 4011019546, which is maintained with the second respondent, Fidelity Bank PLC.”
The court further ordered that the forfeited sum be deposited in the Treasury Single Account of the Nigerian government.