The Supreme Court yesterday affirmed an order of interim forfeiture made by a Federal High Court, Lagos in respect of the sum of $8.4m linked to the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Mrs. Patience Jonathan.
The five-man bench of the apex court led by Justice Dattijo Muhammad, in a unanimous judgment, dismissed the ex-First Lady’s appeal and directed her to return to the Federal High Court to show cause why the funds should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
The court also rejected her prayer to strike down the provisions of section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud Act and other Fraud related offences Act, which was relied on by the Federal High Court to issue the order of interim forfeiture.
Upholding the decision of the Court of Appeal in Lagos, which had affirmed the Federal High Court’s interim order, Justice Kumai Aka’ahs, in the lead judgment of the apex court on Friday, held, “I do not find any reason to interfere with the decision of the lower court”.
Justice Aka’ahs added that “Appellant is to go back to the trial court (the Federal High Court) to show cause why the interim order should not be made permanent.” The lead judgment was read on behalf of Justice Aka’ahs by Justice Ejembi Eko, also a member of the panel. Other members of the five-man panel, Justices Muhammad, John Okoro, Eko, and Sidi Bage, agreed with Justice Aka’ah’s lead judgment.
The EFCC had last year approached the Federal High Court in Lagos with an ex parte application seeking the forfeiture of the sum of $8,435,788.84 and other various sums in various bank accounts linked to the wife of the former President.
The anti-graft agency, in its application anchored on section 17 of AFFA, had urged the court to grant an order of interim forfeiture of the funds which they said were suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.