Patience Jonathan losses N2bn rights suit against EFCC

Former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, lost the N2billion fundamental rights suit filed against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) following the dismissal of the suit by Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday.

Tsoho in his judgement delivered held that Mrs. Jonathan in her submission failed to sustain claims of violations of her fundamental rights by the EFCC.

The judge further held that her suit was largely weakened by the  respondent deposition that investigations of the alleged crimes said to have been committed by her are ongoing and in progress.

The commission had in its deposition averred that bogus sum of money were lodged in the sealed bank accounts linked to the former first lady.

Justice Tsoho held that the law does limit the period on investigation of a crime and further held that the case of the applicant was not sustained.

On the complaint by the former first lady that the EFCC violated her rights to private and family life, the judge said there was no evidence to show that the respondent raided her houses. This is so, particularly as EFCC denied it took part in the raid.

“No verifiable evidence to prove that the applicant (Patience) is being hunted because of her views expressed during the 2015 general election campaign,” the court stated.

On the applicant’s alleged violation of her rights to fair hearing before the properties were sealed, the court held that her rights have not been violated as the court has granted the anti-graft agency an interlocutory injunction sealing the properties on a reasonable ground of suspicion that they were obtained by proceeds of crime.

Justice Tsoho also justified the preservative order, adding that it does not amount to the violation of the applicant’s right.

He dismissed claims that most of the email exhibits annexed by the applicant are online publications.

“Having made out this, I hold that the applicant is not entitled to any of the reliefs sought. Consequently, the applicant’s suit is hereby struck out,”,Justice Tsoho held.

Earlier, while delivering the judgment, the judge had dismissed EFCC objection that Patience suit was an abuse of court process.

He said: “The suit is not an abuse of court process as Patience was not a party in any of three suits in Lagos.”

Mrs. Jonathan had in her suit filed by her counsel, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), prayed the court to order EFCC to pay her the sum of N2billion as general damages/compensation jointly and severally for the violation of her fundamental rights.

She wanted the court to declare that her incessant harassment by the EFCC through negative media publications, denigrating and degrading her person as corrupt without any invitation by the Commission, trial or conviction by a court amount to a violation of her rights under Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.

The former first lady also prayed for a declaration that the indiscriminate freezing of her bank accounts and those of her relatives by the EFCC under the guise of investigation of proceeds of crime without any invitation or interrogation by the respondent (EFCC) is a violation of her rights to own property and to fair hearing guaranteed under Sections 44 and 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution.

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