The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, fixed April 30, for ruling in a suit filed by the Federal Government seeking the forfeiture of former First Lady, Patience Jonathan’s properties. Though, the suit had lingered for long, the court, at yesterday’s sitting, heard an ex-parte motion filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), seeking forfeiture of properties at plot No. 1758, Cadastral Zone, B06 Mabushi and plot No.1350, Cadastral Zone, A00 Central Business District, Abuja, belonging Mrs. Jonathan. EFCC’s counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, had earlier attempted to move the application in October 2017, but could not, as counsel to Patience, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, resisted it.
Moving the application yesterday, Benjamin Manji, sought the leave of the court for an order granting an interim attachment/forfeiture of the assets/property of the named person and properties known as plot No. 1758, Cadastral Zone, B06 Mabushi and plot No.1350, Cadastral Zone, A00 Central Business District, Abuja. The ex-parte motion originating summons, dated September 20, 2017, was brought pursuant to Section 6(d), 7(2), 24(a), 26(1), 28 and 29 of the EFCC (Establish) Act 2004; Section 330(a) of Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015; Section 15 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended); Section 44(2)(k) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
The two properties in question are Ariwaba Aruera Reachout Foundation and Ariwaba Aruera Reachout Foundation. By the application, the complainant/applicant is praying for “an order of interim attachment/forfeiture of the assets and property set out in the schedule attached herein”. “An order stopping any disposal, conveyance, mortgage, lease, sale or alienation or otherwise of the property/asset described in the attached herein. “An order authorising the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to appoint competent person(s)/firm to manage the asset/property listed in the schedule herein temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government pending the conclusion of investigation.”
The EFCC said the application was predicated on the fact that the property is subject matter of investigation, enquiry and examination. Meanwhile, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba equally heard Ozekhome’s application seeking to be heard as well as for the court not to entertain the EFCC’s exparte motion. Ozekhome’s application was dated October 16, 2017, and filed on the 17th. He told the court that he had adopted all his processes to show that the respondent, by the exhibits before the court, is a Foundation that obtained necessary documents and was fully registered to operate and own buildings.