The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has made fresh moves to seize funds discovered in 15 bank accounts linked to former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan.
EFCC today asked a Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos to grant an order of interim forfeiture of the sum of $3,645,013.73 (Three Million, Six Hundred and Forty Five Thousand, Thirteen United States Dollar, Seventy Three Cent) domiciled with First Bank of Nigeria Limited traced to Mrs Patience Jonathan, wife of the former President Jonathan.
According to documents filed before the court, EFCC said the sum is reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities diverted from the government funds,
The EFCC who approached Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court, Lagos with an ex parte motion is seeking the temporary forfeiture of the funds.
The move was, however, interrupted by a retinue of Senior Advocates of Nigeria led by Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) and Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), who challenged the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the ex-parte application.
The senior lawyers told the judge that the funds, which the EFCC is seeking to seize, were already subject of litigation.
But counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, maintained that the defence counsel had no right of hearing in the court, since his application was ex -parte, wondering how they got wind of the move by the anti-graft agency in the first place.
He urged the judge to disregard their appearance.
The judge upheld Oyedepo’s submission, following which the senior lawyers left the courtroom.
But in view of the development, the judge adjourned the case till January 23, 2018 and directed EFCC to file an affidavit to convince her that there were no pending lawsuits relating to the funds sought to be forfeited.