A limited liability company, Magel Resort Limited, linked to the former first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, which its N1.04 billion was temporary forfeited to the federal Government of Nigeria, has urged the court to lift the order of forfeiture .
It would be recalled that a Federal High Court, sitting in Kano, presided over by Justice A. Lewis-Allagoa, recently ordered that the said sum of N1.4billion be forfeited in the interim to the Federal government of Nigeria, while granting an exparte motion filed before the court by the Economic and financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
In urging the court to lift the forfeiture order, the company, Magel Resort Limited, through it’s lawyer, Ige Asemudara, urged the court to grant an order setting aside the order of the court made on January 16, 2019 and dismiss this suit on the ground that same is an abuse of court process.
The company also asked the court for an order returning the deposit of the said funds from the Federal Government Treasury Single Account back to its Fidelity Bank Account number 4011019546 where the funds are domiciled.
The company said one of the ground for the orders is that on December 17, 2018, the EFCC filed a Motion Exparte before this Honourable court praying for several reliefs inclusive of an order of forfeiture of the monies in the accounts of the Applicant herein. And that the said application dated December 14, 2018 but made on December 17, 2018, is a gross abuse of court process, as the said account has been temporally forfeited by an exparte order made by Hon. Justice M. Olatoregun of the Federal High Court Lagos on April 20, 2013 in Suit Number FHC/L/CS/620/2013 which is still being challenged.
The company also stated that it had on May 9, 2018 filed an application praying the Federal High Court Lagos, presided over by Justice Olatoregun to set aside the forfeiture order for being an abuse of Judicial process, after joining issues with the EFCC which has applied for the final forfeiture of the said money on June 2018. Adding that it also opposed the application for final forfeiture while arguments have been proffered on January 15, 2019 and judgement reserved till February 11, 2019.
Magel further stated that a similar application by the EFCC in Suit No FHC/L/CS/1918/2017 was struck out by Justice Olatoregun, on April 13, 2018 for being an abuse of Judicial Process and this account number was part of named parties in the suit.
The applicant stated that the Exparte Originating Summons filed by the EFCC amounts to forum shopping, thus an abuse of court process, as same application had earlier been filed by the Respondent before this Honourable court in suits number FHC/L/CS/640/17, FHC/L/CS/1342/16 all before Justice C. M. Olatoregun and upon which it had obtained an exparte order from this same honourable court; Per Olatoregun J which order is still subsisting.
It also stated that on December 17, 2018 when the EFCC filed this present suit, the said suit No FHC/L/CS/620/18 was pending and is still pending at the Lagos Judicial Division before Justice C. M. Olatoregun with Judgement reserved till February 11, 2019. While adding that the EFCC also failed to serve a copy of the said Interim Order of forfeiture granted by the Honourable Court or publish same as stipulated by Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related Offences Act, 2006.
Magel Resorts Limited, in its Abifarin affidavit
stated that the said order was made by this by the court Without the Applicant/Respondent disclosing to the court that a similar order regarding same account, same parties and subject matter had already been secured by the same commission (Applicant/Respondent) in Lagos via suit no FHC/L/CS/620/18 coram Hon. Justice C. M. Olatoregun.
The deponent stated that in the application referred to above, the Respondent/Applicant (Magel Resort Limited) is the sixth Respondent and the account affected by the present order and that of FHC/L/CS/620 pending before Hon Justice C. M. Olatoregun are the same account number 4011019546, and with same amount being N1,000,494,000 (One Billion Four Hundred And Ninety Four Thousand Naira).