Patience Jonathan, urged the hallowed court to issue an order for the release of the $5.7m and N2.4bn siezed from her account by the anti graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,
Counsel to Mrs Jonathan,Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), asked the court presided by Justice Mojisola Olatoregun to dismiss the application by the anti graft agency.
The EFCC is praying the court to order a permanent forfeiture to the treasury of the Federal Government.
According to the legal luminary, it is nit ethical and right for the foremost anti graft agency to conclude that the money is a proceed of crime when the former first lady is not guilty of any crime.
The Counsel to the former First Lady disclosed that Patience Jonathan received the money as a gift while her husband was the President of Nigeria.
He stated that “It is not the law that if the EFCC finds money in an account and it doesn’t like the owner’s face, it comes to court and says ‘forfeit it.
“The government is at liberty to apply for forfeiture but the offence must be stated.”
The foremost legal luminary informed the hallowed court that there was no moral justification or evidence to warrant the forfeiture of the money to the Federal Government treasury since the anti graft agency doesn’t have any evidence to show that the former firs lady stole the funds from government coffers.
He disclosed that “All that the EFCC said was that they saw money in her account and assumed it was stolen. They didn’t say from who,”
In the same vein a respected human rights and constitutional solicitor, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), who represented La Wari Furniture and Baths whose account was frozen by the ani graft agency informed the hallowed court that the N2.4bn in his clints’ accounts is legitimate.
He insists that “It is settled law that suspicion, no matter how grave, can never amount to legal evidence to prove the guilt or culpability of anyone either in criminal or civil proceedings.
“They have not brought anybody to complain that money is missing. It is not a crime that La Wari Furniture and Baths had made money.’’
But the EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, contended that the money was the proceeds of crime.
The counsel stated that “The $5m was not the first respondent’s (Patience’s) legitimate earnings. She was a public servant and a salary earner. The sums cannot be her legitimate income.
“We urge the court to agree with us and forfeit the sum to the Federal Government.”
He stated that the bank account that had the N2.4bn “was shrouded in mystery and fraud”.
Oyedepo stated that when interrogated by the EFCC, a director at La Wari Furniture and Baths, Mrs Oyewole Yemisi, confesssed that she doesn’t know anything about the company and that her signature was forged.
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