A Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has adjourned to May 22, a suit seeking the final forfeiture to the Federal Government, the sum of $5.8 million belonging to Dame Patience Jonathan, wife of former President Jonathan.
The trial judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, adjourned after arguments by counsel to Jonathan, Mr Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), that his client was not given sufficient notice to file a response to the suit.
On April 26, the court had issued an interim order for the forfeiture of the sum of $5.8 million dollars belonging to Patience Jonathan.
The order followed an ex parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), seeking a forfeiture of the sum to government, pending the determination of the substantive case against them
The court had granted the interim order and had further directed that same be advertised in a national daily, to enable any interested party to appear and show cause why the interim order should not be made final.
When the case was called on Monday, Mrs Jonathan’s counsel informed the court of a notice of Appeal he had filed against the court’s ruling ordering temporary forfeiture as well as a motion for stay of further proceedings.
The counsel also told the court that the publication of the court’s order in the national daily was only done on May 11, adding that such notice was too short to allow for the filing of any response.
In response, lawyer to the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, stressed that the business of the day was for any interested party to appear and show cause why the money should not be permanently forfeited.
He noted that the argument of Mrs Jonathan’s counsel fell outside the purview of the court’s business and urged that it be discarded so that progress can be made in relation to the matter at hand.
After listening to the parties, Justice Olatoregun held that the suit will be adjourned only on the grounds that the time frame of the newspaper publication was short.
She, therefore, adjourned the case to May 22, for Mrs Jonathan or any interested party to appear and show cause why the interim forfeiture order of the monies should not be made final.