A Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed March 28, for the commencement of the hearing of the final forfeiture application of the sum of $5.8m and N2.4bn linked to the former first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan.
Justice Tijani Ringim fixed the date, after ruling on the arguments canvassed by counsel to parties in the suit.
It would be recalled that Justice Cecilia Mojisola Olatoregun, now retired, had on April 26, 2017, while granting Exparte’s application for the interim forfeiture of the said sums filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), ordered that the said sums were warehoused by Skye Bank and Ecobank Nigeria Plc, be forfeited in the interim.
The order was vigorously challenged up to Supreme Court. But the Supreme Court ordered that the lower court should continue with the hearing of the matter.
However, upon Justice Olatoregun’s retirement, the suit was transferred to Justice (Professor) Chuka Obiozor.
But before Justice Obiozor could preside over the matter, he was transferred to another jurisdiction of the court, consequently, the matter was inherited by Justice Ringim.
At the resumed hearing of the matter today, counsel La Wari Furniture and Baths Limited, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), leading Ige Asemudara, told the court that his client has two pending applications before the court, one of the applications, is seeking to stay proceedings on the suit, based on its pending appeal. While the second application was for the matter to start denovo (afresh).
Also, Mr Sammie A. Somiari (SAN) counsel to Patience Jonathan, aligned himself with the submission of Ozekhome (SAN).
But counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) vehemently opposed the applications, saying that the court’s business of the day was to hear the application seeking final forfeiture of the money.
Justice Ringim, after taking arguments from counsel, acceded to the EFCC’s lawyer submissions.
Consequently, by the agreement of the counsel, Justice Ringim adjourned till March 28, for hearing the application for final forfeiture of the money.
ALSO READ FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE