Patience Jonathan failed to prove legitimacy of funds linked to her, EFCC tells court

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has told the Federal High Court Lagos to ignore the prayer of former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, on an attempt to stop the final forfeiture of the sums of$8.4 million and N9.2 billion allegedly linked to the Federal government.

The commission through it counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, while responding to the counter affidavit filed by the former first lady and others against the motion of EFCC seeking final forfeiture of the funds, held that both Mrs Jonathan and others had failed to prove the legitimacy of the funds traced to their accounts.

The funds were said to be in the custody of Skye Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, StanbicIBTC Bank and First Bank Plc respectively.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun had on April 20, 2018, upon the granting of an ex-parte motion by the anti-graft agency, ordered the temporary forfeiture of the funds to the Federal government.

Following the interim order of forfeiture, Mrs Jonathan alongside some other interested parties filed several processes before the court asking that the order is vacated.

Aside the ex-first lady, interested parties who were also joined as respondents in the suit by the EFCC were five firms and one, Esther Oba.

The firms that were listed as respondents were: Finchley Top Homes Limited, Globus Integrated Services Limited, Am-Pm Global Network Limited, Pagmat Oil and Gas Limited and Magel Resort Limited.

In his submission for final forfeiture, Oyedepo told the court that Jonathan, fraudulently diverted funds from Women for Change Initiative, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) linked to her.

According to him, most of the funds were fraudulently diverted from the NGO to other accounts of the second to sixth respondents – companies said to be owned by the former first lady.

Oyedepo said: “Women for Change Initiative was not joined in this suit; we are not asking for forfeiture of its money; the funds have been converted and that is an unlawful act.’’

He further told the court that Jonathan signed some of the fund transfer instructions personally, and also signed using other people’s names and passport photographs.

Oyedepo also said that as regards the $8.4 million, the first respondent (Jonathan) had not been able to disclose to the court, the identities of those who made the donations.

He said that the EFCC attached exhibits to show that the former first lady was the sole signatory to the companies’ accounts.

“The funds we are seeking to forfeit from the second to sixth respondents are not funds from their legitimate businesses but those traced from the NGO,” Oyedepo said.

However, the court has fixed February 11 to deliver judgment in the suit.

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