A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State has set 28 of March 2023 for the hearing of the final forfeiture application of $845,316.66 and N2,421,953,522.78, allegedly belonging to the former first lady, Patience Jonathan.
After the argument of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, on Monday, Justice Tijjani Ringim, adjourned the matter.
Counsel to Baths Limited and La Wari Furniture, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), told the court that his client had two pending applications before the court.
The two applications were seeking to stay proceedings on the suit, based on its pending appeal, and for the matter to start de novo (afresh).
Also, the lawyer to the former first lady, Sammie A. Somiari, aligned himself with the submission of Ozekhome.
But the EFCC lawyer, Oyedepo opposed the applications, insisting that the court’s business of the day was to hear applications seeking final forfeiture of the money.
After taking arguments from the counsels, Justice Ringim upheld Oyedepo’s submissions and directed that motion for final forfeiture would be taken and determined first as canvassed by the EFCC counsel.
The judge, thereafter, adjourned the hearing of the application for final forfeiture to March 28.
Recall that Justice Cecilia Olatoregun, now retired, had on April 26, 2017, while granting an ex parte application for the interim forfeiture of the said sums filed by the EFCC, ordered that the said sums warehoused by Ecobank Nigeria Plc and Skye Bank be forfeited in the interim.
The order was challenged up to the Supreme Court, but the higher court ordered the lower court to continue the hearing of the case.
Upon Justice Olatoregun’s retirement, the suit was, however, transferred to Justice Chuka Obiozor. But Justice Obiozor was transferred to another jurisdiction before hearing commenced; the matter was then inherited by Justice Ringim.