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Court orders forfeiture of Dame Jonathan’s N9.2bn, $8.4m

Mrs Patience Jonathan

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ordered the permanent forfeiture of the sums of N9.2bn and $8.4m recovered from wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun ordered that the funds should be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

The judgment followed an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which said the funds were proceeds of crime.

Though Patience, through her lawyers, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) Gboyega Oyewole SAN opposed the application and insisted that the funds were legitimately her own, the judge held that she had “no doubts, at all, that these monies are proceeds of unlawful activities.”

Justice Olatoregun said the respondents “failed to dispel the suspicion created by the movement of the monies within the meaning and contemplation of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related offences Act, coupled with the various extrajudicial statements of the Bureau De Change agents which were not controverted by the respondents.”

“In all of this, taking into consideration the overwhelming evidence provided by the applicant, the mode, the circumstances and the manner involved, using fictitious names, etcetera, to lodge monies in her name by named and unnamed individuals and BDCs, I cannot come to a conclusion by any sense of responsibility that these monies are proceeds of lawful activities within the meaning and contemplation of of the provisions of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related offences Act 2006; the Money Laundering Act 2004 and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act 2004 and other laws enforceable under the EFCC Act 2004.”

The judge said the respondents “failed to show cause why the monies should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

Apart from Patience, other respondents in the application taken before the judge by the EFCC were Globus Integrated Services Ltd, Finchley Top Homes Ltd., Am-Pm Global Network Ltd, Pagmat Oil and Gas Ltd, Magel Resort Ltd and Esther Oba.

The EFCC through its counsel Mr Rotimi Oyedepo said the respondents were not into “any legitimate income-yielding business venture” as to earn such amounts.

It alleged that the firms were incorporated for the purpose of warehousing proceeds of unlawful activities for Patience.

“The depositors into these accounts are domestic staff of State House, Abuja, who were procured by the Dudafa Waripamo-Owei (Jonathan’s Special Assistant on Domestic and Household Matters) to deposit the funds sought to be forfeited in a bid to conceal the true origin of the funds,” the EFCC said in the application filed by its lawyer, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo.

But opposing the application, Patience’s lawyer, Adedipe, had contended that it was wrong for the EFCC to tag the money as proceeds of crime, when Patience had not been charged with any crime and when nobody complained that their money was missing.

The SAN said, contrary to the claim by the EFCC, the funds were cash gifts which Patience received when her husband was in office.

Adedipe said such gifts were normal, pointing out that even the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha, was seeking to build a university.

The lawyer contended that Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud, which EFCC relied upon to seize Patience’s funds, was only applicable to fraudsters.

“It is not the law that if the EFCC finds money in an account and it doesn’t like the owner’s face, it comes to court and says ‘forfeit it’.

“The government is at liberty to apply for forfeiture but the offence must stated.

“The first respondent is a wife to a former deputy governor, governor, Vice President and President.

“Even the current occupier of the office of the First Lady wants to build a university.

“In this country, First Ladies enjoy a lot of goodwill. She (Patience) stated that governors gave her money. Nobody wrote that she stole their money,” the SAN said.

Adedipe said there was no justification for the money to be forfeited to the Federal Government as the EFCC had not proved that Patience stole money from the government or any individual.

“All that the EFCC said was that they saw money in her account and assumed it was stolen. They didn’t say from whom.

“You don’t pick on your political opponents. We urge Your Lordship to hold that the money is not proceeds of unlawful act. It’s not a crime to be given money,” Adedipe said.

Also, Ozekhome, who appeared for La Wari Furniture and Baths, said the money found in his clients’ accounts was legitimate.

Ozekhome said La Wari Furniture was into the import and export of furniture and antique.

“It is settled law that suspicion, no matter how grave, can never amount to legal evidence to prove the guilt or culpability of anyone either in criminal or civil proceedings.

“They have not brought anybody to complain that money is missing. It is not a crime that La Wari Furniture and Baths had made money.

“The EFCC has not shown any predicate office committed by La Wari Furniture and Baths. They threw a wide net into the sea looking to catch any fish.

“We urge your Lordship to refuse this application,” Ozekhome prayed.

However, Justice Olatoregun, in her judgment, disagreed with the SAN and granted EFCC’s  application for final forfieture.

Below is the full analysis of various accounts that wherehouse proceed of the unlawful activities ;

The sum of \3,645,013.73 (Three Million, Six Hundred and Forty Five Thousand, Thirteen United States Dollar, Seventy Three Cent) found by the Commission in account No.2031277178domiciled with First Bank of Nigeria Ltd.

The sum of \4,361,393.24 (Four Million, Three Hundred and Sixty One Thousand, Three Hundred and Ninety Three United States Dollar, Twenty Four Cent) found by the Commission in account No.1771421299 domiciled with Skye Bank Plc.

The sum of N1,800,494,000.00 (One Billion, Eight Hundred Million, Four Hundred and Ninety Four Thousand Naira) found by the Commission in account No.4011019539 domiciled with Fidelity Bank Plc.

The sum of N226,376,700.23 (Two Hundred and Twenty Six Million, Three Hundred and Seventy Six Thousand, Seven Hundred Naira, Twenty Three Kobo) found by the Commission in account No.1102001996 domiciled with Eco Bank Ltd.

The sum of N1,085,576,947.99 (One Billion, Eight Five Million, Five Hundred and Seventy Six Thousand, Nine Hundred and Forty Seven Naira, Ninety Nine Kobo) found by the Commission in account No.1102001996 domiciled with Eco Bank Ltd

The sum of N39,418,712.12 (Thirty Nine Million, Four Hundred and Eighteen Thousand, Seven Hundred and Twelve Naira, Twelve Kobo) found by the Commission in account No.0019213687domiciled with Diamond Bank Plc

The sum of N7,213,303.50 (Seven Million, Two Hundred and Thirteen Thousand, Three Hundred and Three Naira, Fifty Kobo) found by the Commission in account No.0026718889 domiciled with Diamond Bank Plc.

The sum of N55,930,024.50 (Fifty Five Million, Nine Hundred and Thirty Thousand, Twenty Four Naira, Fifty Kobo) found by the Commission in account No.0026838491 domiciled with Diamond Bank Plc

The sum of N174,166,207.06 (One and Seventy Four Million. One Hundred and Sixty Six Thousand, Two Hundred and Seven Naura, Six Kobo) found by the Commvssion in account No.0024351590 domiculed wnth Diamond Bank Plc.

. The sum of N858,923,982.55 (Eight Hundred and Fifty Eight Million, Nlne Hundred and Twenty Three Thousand, Nme Hundred and Eighty Two Naira, Fifty Five Kobo) found by the Commissuon in account No.1011744356 domiciled with Zenith Bank Plc

The sum of N1,809,666,494.68 (One Billion, Eight Hundred and Nine Million, Six Hundred and Sixty SIX Thousand, Four Hundred and Ninety Four Naira. Sixty Eight Kobo) found by the CommiSSIon in account No.4011019560domiCIled wnth Fidelity Bank Plc

The sum of N1,000,494,000.00 (One Billion. Four Hundred and Ninety Four Thousand Nalra) found by the Commisston in account No.4011019546 domiciled wnh Ftdehty Bank Plc.

The sum of N317,397,458.26 (Three Hundred and Seventeen Million, Three Hundred and Ninety Seven Thousand, Four Hundred and Fifty Eight Naira, Twenty SIX Kobo) found by the Comrmssmn in account No.0016971559 domiciled with Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc

The sum of N1,809,666,494.68 (One Billion, Eight Hundred and Nine Mllhon, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Thousand, Four Hundred and Ninety Four Naira. Sixty Eight Kobo) found by the Commission in account No.4011019577domnculed wuth Fidelity Bank Plc.

The sum of N174,166,207.06 (One and Seventy Four Million. One Hundred and Sixty Six Thousand, Two Hundred and Seven Naura, Six Kobo) found by the Commvssion in account No.0024351590 domiculed wnth Diamond Bank Plc.

The sum of N858,923,982.55 (Eight Hundred and Fifty Eight Million, Nlne Hundred and Twenty Three Thousand, Nme Hundred and Eighty Two Naira, Fifty Five Kobo) found by the Commissuon in account No.1011744356 domiciled with Zenith Bank Plc

The sum of N1,809,666,494.68 (One Billion, Eight Hundred and Nine Million, Six Hundred and Sixty SIX Thousand, Four Hundred and Ninety Four Naira. Sixty Eight Kobo) found by the CommiSSIon in account No.4011019560domiCIled wnth Fidelity Bank Plc

The sum of N1,000,494,000.00 (One Billion. Four Hundred and Ninety Four Thousand Nalra) found by the Commisston in account No.4011019546 domiciled wnh Ftdehty Bank Plc.

The sum of N317,397,458.26 (Three Hundred and Seventeen Million, Three Hundred and Ninety Seven Thousand, Four Hundred and Fifty Eight Naira, Twenty SIX Kobo) found by the Comrmssmn in account No.0016971559 domiciled with Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc

The sum of N1,809,666,494.68 (One Billion, Eight Hundred and Nine Million, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Thousand, Four Hundred and Ninety Four Naira. Sixty Eight Kobo) found by the Commission in account No.4011019577domnculed wuth Fidelity Bank Plc

The sum of N55,930,024.50 (Fifty Five Million, Nine Hundred and Thirty Thousand, Twenty Four Naira, Fifty Kobo) found by the Commission in account No.0026838491 domiciled with Diamond Bank Plc.

The sum of $429,381.87 (Four Hundred and Twenty Nine Thousand, Three Hundred and Eighty One United State Dollars, Eighty Seven Cent) found by the Commission in account No.2110003170 domiciled with Skye Bank Plc.

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