By Innocent Anaba

lagos—A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday,  granted an ex parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for the interim forfeiture of $ 5.8 million belonging to a former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan.

The EFCC had prayed the court to order the forfeiture of money to the Federal Government pending the determination of the motion on notice.

Moving the ex parte application, yesterday, counsel to EFCC,  Mr Rotimi Oyedepo urged the court to grant the order as prayed.

Trial judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun in a short ruling said, the “Order is granted as prayed.”

The fresh order was granted about 24 hours after the EFCC withdrew an application for stay of the court’s judgment,  which had earlier unfrozen Mrs Jonathan’s account.

Patience Jonathan

In the fresh application, the commission prayed the court for an interim order directing interim forfeiture of the $ 5.8million found by the commission in the Skye bank account  of Mrs Jonathan.

The commission also sought an order directing the interim forfeiture of the sum of N2.4 billion discovered in an Ecobank account in the name of La Wari Furniture and Bath Ltd,  which sum it said it reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.

The  commission also sought an order, directing the publication of the said order, to enable any interested party to appear and show cause why the interim order should not be made final.

In an affidavit deposed to by one Musbahu Abubakar, the commission averred that it received an intelligence report that funds suspected to be proceeds of crime were warehoused in a Skye Bank account in the name of Mrs Jonathan.

It said that the said report was analysed and found worthy of investigation adding that the ex First Lady opened the account on February 7, 2013.

According to EFCC, several cash deposits were made by the ex-first Lady in US Dollars, through a former special assistant to ex President Jonathan, Waripamo Dudafa.

The commission averred that another frequent depositor of funds into the said account was one Festus Iyoha, who it said was a steward of the State House Abuja.

The EFCC said that between February 8, 2013 and January 30,  2015, the sum of about $6.7m, suspected to be proceeds of crime, was deposited into the account.

According to the commission Mrs Jonathan had dissipated the funds, leaving a balance of about $5.7m in the account.

Meanwhile, Justice Olatoregun has adjourned till May 15, to enable any interested party to appear and show cause why the interim order should not be made final.

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