The Federal High Court in Lagos Division has granted the wish of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to temporarily be in charge of N7.3billion and $8.4million allegedly belonging to former First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan.
According to the NATION, Justice Mojisola Olateregun made the order based on a fresh application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
A copy of the order made on April 20 was obtained yesterday.
The judge had on April 13 struck out an ex-parte application seeking the money’s forfeiture on the basis that a similar suit was pending in another court.
However, EFCC returned with another ex-parte application for temporary forfeiture.
The money is said to be in Skye Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank and First Bank Plc.
Justice Olatoregun directed EFCC to publish the order in a national newspaper within 14 days, adding that the respondents should be served.
Mrs Jonathan, Esther Oba, Globus Integrated Services Limited, Finchley Top Homes Limited, AM-PM Global Network Limited, Pagmat Oil and Gas Limited and Magel Resort Limited are the respondents.
In a supporting affidavit, an EFCC investigator Huleji Tukura said the money was allegedly moved from Bayelsa State when Mrs Jonathan was a permanent secretary.
He said Mrs. Jonathan first opened a First Bank account and then “procured” former Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, to fund the account with “proceeds of unlawful activities.”
“The said Dudafa Waripamo-Owei procured one Festus Isidohomen Iyoha and Arivi Eneji Peter, who were domestic staff attached to the State House, Abuja, to deposit the funds, reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities, in to account of the first respondent.
“The said domestic staff, in a bid to conceal their identity, deposited the funds reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful act using fictitious names.
“The total sum of $4,036,750.00 reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities were deposited into account No. 2022648664 domiciled in First Bank Plc in the name of the first respondent.
“On the 28th day of September, 2016, the first respondent, in dissipating the property sought to be forfeited, transferred the sum of $3,640,794.72 to the first respondent’s account No. 2031277178 domiciled in First Bank Plc.
“On the 5th day of October, 2016, the first respondent withdrew the sum of $1,000,000.00 cash from the said account leaving the balance of the sum of $3,645,013.73…
“As at the time the various sums were deposited, the first respondent was a serving permanent secretary in the employment of the Bayelsa State Government.
“The funds sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria are not the first respondent’s lawful earnings but are rather reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities,” the deponent said.
Tukura said the companies were not into “any legitimate income-yielding business venture” but were incorporated for the purpose of warehousing proceeds of unlawful activities for the former First Lady.
“The depositors into this account are domestic staff of State House, Abuja, who was procured by the said Dudafa Waripamo-Owei to deposit the funds sought to be forfeited in a bid to conceal the true origin of the funds,” Tukura said.
EFCC said none of the directors of Globus Integrated Services Ltd, for instance, we’re signatories its account.
The commission said an account numbered 2110002269 was opened with Skye Bank and others with Diamond Bank Plc and Stanbic IBTC solely to retain funds reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
“Account No. 0016971559 was opened in the name of the fourth respondent (AM-PM Global Network Limited) with Stanbic IBTC and was used to warehouse N317, 397, 458 .26 reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities,” the deponent said.
Justice Olatoregun adjourned until May 11.