Nigeria’s former first lady Same Patience Jonathan had called on the Federal High Court in Abuja to set aside the order made on May 30,2017 freezing her 16 separate bank accounts with the cumulative sums of $5.8m and N3.5 bn.
As her grounds of the application, she contended that court’s orders of interim forfeiture including a subsequent one issued on October 10, 2017 had expired.
She contended that the order could not be extended on the grounds that it was originally obtained by an improper use of court process by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
She claimed in an affidavit filed in support of the application that the sums of money belonged to herself, her Ariwabai Aruera Reachout Foundation, and nine other companies.
According to her, the Federal High Court in Abuja had on May 30 , 2017 granted an ex parte order in favour of the Federal Government against all the accounts owned and operated by them.
The affidavit stated in part, “That the same Federal Government later went to Lagos and obtained another order made by Justice C.M.A. Olatoregun of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division on October 10, 2017 directing the managers of the Skye Bank, Ecobank Plc , Fidelity Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, and Diamond Bank Plc, to in the interim, freeze and attach the various sums of money in the accounts belonging to Dame Patience Jonathan, Finchley Top Homes Limited and Ariwabai Aruera Reachout Foundation.
“That prior to the grant of the ex parte motion by the court in Abuja, the Federal Government had filed a similar application before Justice Olatoregun of the Lagos Division but failed to disclose the fact that it had obtained same relief in Lagos.”
Through her lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), the wife of the former President said the owners of the money were never served with the interim order of forfeiture but only became aware of it during a hearing of a petition by her at the National Assembly.
On Thursday, EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Richard Dauda, told the presiding judge that his application seeking an order extending the forfeiture order should be heard first.
But Ozekhome maintained that her client’s motion should take precedence over the EFCC’s because hers was challenging the order allegedly obtained in error.
Justice Nyako adjourned the matter until November 23 next week for hearing.