By Oladimeji Ramon
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has secured a new interim order to seize sum of $8,435,788.84 and over N7.35bn found in 15 bank accounts linked to a former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan.
The new order was granted by the Federal High Court in Lagos on April 20, 2018.
It came about a week after the EFCC failed in its bid to get the funds permanently forfeited to the Federal Government on April 13.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun had dismissed the application by the anti-graft agency, based on an objection by Patience’s counsel, Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) and Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), who also appeared in the case.
Listed as respondents in the fresh interim order marked FHC/L/CS/620/18, are Patience Jonathan, Globus Integrated Services Limited, Finchley Top Homes Ltd., Am-Pm Global Network Ltd., Pagmat Oil And Gas Ltd. and Magel Resort Limited and Esther Oba.
After ordering the temporary forfeiture of the funds, Justice Olatoregun ordered the EFCC to “publish in The PUNCH Newspaper or any major national university, the orders of this court for the respondents or anyone, who is interested in the properties sought to be forfeited, appear before this honourable court to show cause within 14 days why the final order of forfeiture of the said properties should not be made in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
She adjourned the case till May 11, 2018.
In its application before the court, the EFCC claimed that its investigations revealed that the funds found in the bank accounts linked to Patience emanated from the coffers of Bayelsa State.
It said the funds were moved at a time when the former First Lady served as a permanent secretary in one the ministries in Bayelsa State.
An investigator with the EFCC, Huleji Tukura, who deposed to the affidavit in support of the application, said Patience first opened a First Bank account and then “procured” the then Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, to fund the account with “proceeds of unlawful activities.”
Tukura averred, “That the said Dudafa Warripamo-Owei procured one Festus Isidohomen Iyoha and Arivi Eneji Peter, who were domestic staff attached to the State House, Abuja, to deposit the funds, reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities, into the account of the 1strespondent (Patience).