Appeal Court Upholds Forfeiture Of Patience Jonathan’s $5.7m

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The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, on Friday upheld the decision of the Federal High Court in Lagos, which ordered the interim forfeiture of a sum of $5.9m found in Mrs. Patience Jonathan’s Skye Bank account.

She had appealed against a ruling by the Federal High Court in Lagos which temporarily ordered the money’s forfeiture to the Federal Government.

It held that the appeal lacked merit.

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Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court in Lagos had, in April last year, ordered the temporary forfeiture of the funds after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission argued that the money was reasonably suspected to be proceeds of fraud.

Apart from Patience’s personal account with $5.9m, the judge also froze a number of accounts linked with her including an Ecobank account with a balance of N2.4bn opened in the name of one La Wari Furniture and Bath Limited.

But efforts to secure an order for the permanent forfeiture of the money was opposed by Patience, through her lawyer, Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN).

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The Commission said the money also belongs to Mrs. Jonathan.

The Court of Appeal similarly dismissed an appeal filed by La Wari Funiture and Baths.

Through her lawyer, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), Mrs. Jonathan urged the court to declare Section 17 of Advance Fee Fraud Act unconstitutional for being in conflict with the Evidence Act and the 1999 Constitution.

In a judgment delivered by Justice Mojeed Owoade, the appellate court held that the appeals lacked merit.

It upheld Oyedepo’s arguments and resolved the issues against the appellant.

The court upheld the constitutionality of Section 17 of the Advance Fee fraud Act, which empowers the EFCC to apply for the forfeiture of property reasonably suspected to be proceed of unlawful activity to the federal government.

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