Patience Jonathan loses bid to reclaim seized $5.9m

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 . 9 m found in Mrs. Patience Jonathan ’ s Skye Bank account .

The appellate court , in a lead judgment by Justice Mojeed Owoade , threw out the ex – President ’ s wife’ s appeal challenging the forfeiture of the funds to the Federal Government.
It held that the appeal lacked merit .

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 . 9 m, the judge also froze a number of accounts linked with her including an Ecobank account with a balance of N 2 . 4 bn 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 ).

Also , Chief Mike Ozekhome ( SAN ) , on behalf of La Wari Furniture and Bath Limited , opposed the permanent forfeiture of the funds in its client ’ s account .

The two lawyers subsequently went on appeal , seeking to overturn the temporary forfeiture order and recover the funds .
But the appellate court on Friday dismissed their appeals.

The EFCC had, in an affidavit it filed before Justice Olatoregun , said its investigation revealed that Patience opened the Skye Bank account on February 7 , 2013 , and used it to allegedly “ warehouse proceeds of crime. ”
According to an operative of the EFCC , Musbahu Abubakar , the former first lady made several cash deposits in United States dollar into the account , through a former Special Assistant to ex – President Jonathan , Waripamo -Owei Dudafa; and a State House steward, Festus Iyoha .

He said as of January 30 , 2015 , the Skye Bank account had a balance of $ 6 . 7 m, but Patience subsequently withdrew it down to $ 5 . 9 m .

The EFCC had prayed the court to urgently freeze the account so as to prevent Patience from moving the funds .

Justice Olatoregun had then granted the interim forfeiture order and adjourned till May 22 , 2017 for anyone interested in the funds to appear before her to show cause why the funds should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.