Thursday, July 4, 2019

Patience Jonathan, sister appeal forfeiture of billions

Wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, and her younger sister, Esther Oba, have appealed against the Monday judgment of the Federal High Court in Lagos, which ordered the permanent forfeiture of the sums of N9.2bn and $.4m linked to them to the Federal Government.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun had ordered the permanent forfeiture of the funds to the Federal Government at the instance of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which said the funds were proceeds of criminal activities.

The respondents in separate appeals by their counsel, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) and Mr Ige Asemudara, urged the Court of Appeal to set aside Justice Olatoregun’s judgment and return the money to them.

In the appeal filed on behalf of Patience, Adedipe contended that Justice Olatoregun ought not to have made the forfeiture order as the funds were subject of a pre-existing suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The SAN said the judge erred in law and occasioned a miscarriage of justice when she shifted the “onus propandi” to Patience to not only prove the sources of the funds but also her innocence.

Besides the appeal, Adedipe also filed an application seeking a stay of execution of Justice Olatoregun’s judgment.

He said it was important that the court grant the stay of execution in order not to foist a fait accompli on the Court of Appeal.