The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has started a fresh move to seize funds in 15 bank accounts linked with the wife of ex - President Goodluck Jonathan , Patience . The funds, which the EFCC is seeking to seize, include a total of $8, 435,788.84 and over N 7.35bn. The EFCC had on Monday morning appeared before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court in Lagos with an ex parte application, seeking the temporary forfeiture of the funds. The move was, however, interrupted by a train of Senior Advocates of Nigeria led by Mr. IfedayoAdedipe (SAN) and Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) , who challenged the court ’ s jurisdiction to entertain the ex parte application . The SANs told the judge that the funds, which the EFCC seeks to seize, were already subject of litigation but counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, maintained that the SANs had no right of hearing in the court, since his application was ex parte, wondering how they got wind of the move by the anti - graft agency in the first place. He urged the judge to disregard their appearance. The judge upheld Oyedepo’s submission, following which the SANs left the courtroom. But in view of the development, the judge adjourned the case till January 23, 2018 and directed the EFCC to file an affidavit to convince her that there were no pending lawsuits relating to the funds sought to be forfeited.
In the said ex parte application, the EFCC listed Patience Jonathan and five firms and one Esther Oba as respondents. The firms that were listed as second to sixth defendants were Globus Integrated Services Ltd., Finchley Top Homes Ltd., Am- Pm Global Network Ltd., Pagmat Oil And Gas Ltd. and Magel Resort Ltd. The ex parte application was backed by a 15-paragraph affidavit deposed to by an investigator with the EFCC, HulejiTukura. Tukura claimed that investigation by the anti - graft agency revealed that the funds found in the bank accounts linked to Patience emanated from the coffers of the Bayelsa State Government and that the funds were moved at a time when the former First Lady served as a permanent secretary in one the ministries in the state.
According to Tukura, Patience first opened a First Bank account and then “procured” the then Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Waripamo -OweiDudafa, to fund the account with “proceeds of unlawful activities.” Tukura averred , “ That the said DudafaWarripamo -Owei procured one Festus IsidohomenIyoha and AriviEneji Peter , who were domestic ( members of ) staff attached to the State House , Abuja , to deposit the funds , reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities , into the account of the 1st respondent (Patience). “ That in depositing the funds into the account of the 1st respondent, the said domestic staff, in a bid to conceal their identity, deposited the funds , reasonably suspected to be proceeds of an unlawful act, into the 1st respondent’ s account , using fictitious names.
He added that another $4,036,750.00 reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities, were deposited into account No. 2022648664 domiciled in First Bank Plc in the name of the 1st respondent. Tukura stated that on September 28, 2016, the 1st respondent, in dissipating the property sought to be forfeited, transferred $3, 640,794. 72 to the 1st respondent’s account No. 2031277178 domiciled in First Bank Plc. He added, “That on the 5th day of October, 2016, the 1st respondent withdrew the sum of $1, 000,000. 00 cash from the said account leaving the balance of the sum of $3, 645,013. 73 which sum we are urging this honorable court to forfeit in the interim to the Federal Government of Nigeria. “That as at the time the various sums were deposited into exhibit EFCC 01, the 1st respondent was a serving permanent secretary in the employment of the Bayelsa State Government. “ That the funds sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria are not the 1st respondent’ s lawful earnings but are rather reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities. ”
The investigator further explained that the companies mentioned in the application were not into “any legitimate income -yielding business venture” but were rather incorporated at the Corporate Affairs Commission for the purpose of warehousing proceeds of unlawful activities for the former First Lady.
He claimed that every now and then domestic servants at the Presidential Villa were sent to deposit money into the company’s accounts for Patience.