A recent move by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to seize funds in 15 bank accounts linked with Patience Jonathan was on Monday thwarted by lawyers to the former first lady. Appearing before a Lagos Division of the Federal High Court, the EFCC said the funds – $8,435,788.84 and over N7.35 billion – were proceeds of corrupt activities and sought an order of forfeiture.
The move was, however, halted by Ifedayo Adedipe and Mike Ozekhome, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria and lawyers to Mrs. Jonathan, who challenged the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the ex parte application.
They told the judge that the funds, which the EFCC was seeking its forfeiture, were already subject of litigation.
The lawyers submitted documents to show that similar applications were before Binta Nyako and Nnamdi Dimgba, justices at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.
But Rotimi Oyedepo, counsel for the EFCC, told Mojisola Olatoregun, the judge, that the senior lawyers had no right of hearing in the court since his application does not require a notice to the opposing party (ex parte).
He wondered how Mrs. Jonathan’s lawyers got wind of the EFCC’s move to file the ex parte application.
The judge adjourned the case till January 23 and directed the EFCC to file an affidavit to convince it that there were no pending lawsuits relating to the funds before other courts.
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