Ex -President Jonathan’s Aide,   Dudafa To Testify In N500M Suit Filed  Against EFCC By Mrs. Jonathan

* Dame Patience Jonathan Pix source: Authority newspapers



Hearing in the case filed by wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dame Patience, was stalled at the Federal High Court in Lagos today because her witness was “sick”.

Mrs Jonathan is seeking to unfreeze her accounts containing $15.5million frozen by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

When the case came up before Justice Mohammed Idris, her lawyer Granville Abibo (SAN) told the court that his witness was within the court premises but was very ill.

“Our witness is not in good health condition. We have tried to bring him inside the court, but he cannot even stand,” he said. He asked for an adjournment.

EFCC’s lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo expressed his sympathies, but added that the witness should have at least stepped into the courtroom since he was already within the premises.

“I apply that my Lord directs the plaintiff’s counsel to bring his witness inside the court for my Lord to see him and assess him,” he said.

Counsel for the third and fourth defendants, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), said he was not opposed to the application for an adjournment.

Fifth defendant’s lawyer Ige Asemudara said he was also not opposed to the application, but added that Oyedepo should be cautioned for doubting Abibo’s claim.

“How can he be doubting very senior member of the Bar?,” he said, citing a Supreme Court case in which it was held that only the living can face trial.

Oyedepo said he merely made a submission and that nobody should cast aspersions on him.

Ruling, Justice Idris held that since the plaintiff was applying for an adjournment for the first time, it was fair to grant it in the interest of justice.

In its defence to the suit, EFCC argued that Mrs Jonathan does not run any business from which she could have earned such huge sums of money.

The commission said its investigations show that the money was allegedly stolen from the Federal Government and its agencies, and that it does not belong to the former First Lady.

There is no way the plaintiff (Mrs Jonathan) could have genuinely earned the monies. She is the wife of the former president, a civil servant and a retired Permanent Secretary in Bayelsa State.

“She does not run any profit and interest yielding business venture to generate such money.

“Investigation conducted by the first defendant (EFCC) revealed that the plaintiff is not the owner of the funds in the accounts of the third to fifth defendants (companies), which funds were discovered to be proceeds of fraudulent activities of Waripamo-Owei Emmanuel Dudafa,” EFCC said.

Mrs Jonathan sued the EFCC, Skye Bank Plc and three companies – Pluto Property and Investment Company Ltd, Seagate Property

Development and Investment Company Ltd and Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Ltd.

She is praying for an order restraining the defendants from tampering with her funds in the companies’ accounts domiciled in Skye Bank.

She asked for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the EFCC from transferring the funds to Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA).

Mrs Jonanthan said the funds in the companies’ accounts belong to her, but she had been unable to operate them after EFCC placed a “no debit order” on the accounts.

The former first lady said representatives of the companies who pleaded guilty to laundering the money were unknown to her, nor were they authorised to represent them.

“The plaintiff/applicant is the lawful owner of her hard earned funds,” she said, adding that her ownership of the money has not been controverted by a third party.

The former First Lady, in her written address, accused EFCC making moves to take her money from her through an order of forfeiture.

But, EFCC, in its statement of defence, said its investigations revealed that between 2013 and 2015, “huge sums of money were stolen from the Federal Government of Nigeria and its agencies.”

The agencies, it said, were the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), “etc”.

Justice Idris adjourned until February 20 for further hearing.

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