Fresh efforts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to re-impose a suspension order on the accounts of former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, and her relatives have suffered a setback as Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos yesterday struck out an application for an interim forfeiture order brought before it by the anti-graft agency.
The EFFCC had filed an application for interim order of forfeiture against the accounts of Mrs. Jonathan and her siblings but her lawyers led by Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) opposed the application based on the fact that similar applications were pending before other courts in Abuja, which they claimed amounted to forum shopping and judicial abuse of court process.
The team of lawyers, which also included Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) and Charles Ogbolu, submitted attachments to prove that the same process was currently before other courts of competent jurisdiction, including the applications before Justice Binta Nyako and Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, both of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
It was based on the evidence of multiplicity of an action provided by Mrs. Jonathan’s lawyers that Justice Olateregun rejected EFCC’s application for an interim order of forfeiture.
It would be recalled that Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja, had last December, lifted an order made on May 30, freezing 16 bank accounts linked to the wife of former President Jonathan, Patience.
Justice Nyako in her ruling ordered the lifting of the freezing order that barred Mrs. Jonathan, her relatives and 10 organizations linked to her from accessing the accounts containing $5.8million and N3.5billion.
The ruling followed an application that Mrs. Jonathan and the 10 companies filed to challenge an ex-parte interim freezing order earlier obtained by the EFCC.
Listed as applicants with Mrs. Jonathan in the application are the Incorporated Trustees of Ariwabai Aruera Reachout Foundation, Pagmat Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited, Flinchley Top Homes Limited, Incorporated
Justice Nyako upheld the application that the interim forfeiture order had elapsed and could not be renewed by the EFCC.