By Innocent Anaba
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, has granted a temporary forfeiture of N9.2 billion and $8.4 million allegedly linked to former First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan.
Trial judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, gave the order while ruling on an application filed and argued by counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo.
The funds were said to be in the custody of Skye Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank and First Bank Plc.
Justice Olatoregun also directed EFCC to publish the order in a national newspaper within 14 days and that the respondent be served with the order.
The court had earlier struck out the suit for abuse of court process after Mrs Jonathan’s lawyers revealed that a similar suit was pending before another court.
The decision forced the EFCC to consolidate the other suits into one case.
Other respondents in the suit are one Esther Oba and five companies, Globus Integrated Services Limited, Finchley Top Homes Limited, Am-Pm Global Network Limited, Pagmat Oil and Gas Limited and Magel Resort Limited.
An EFCC investigator, Huleji Tukura, in a 15-paragraph affidavit in support of the application, averred that investigations by the agency showed that the funds found in the bank accounts linked to Mrs Jonathan emanated from the coffers of Bayelsa State Government.
The funds, he said, were moved when the former first lady served as a permanent secretary in one of the ministries in the state.
Tukura averred that Mrs. Jonathan first opened a First Bank account and then “procured” the then Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, to fund the account with “proceeds of unlawful activities.”