Following a recent court judgment ordering the forfeiture of sums running into billions of Naira in an alleged money laundering charge against Dame Patience Jonathan, there are indications that the former first lady and other parties involved in the suit are not going to go down without a fight for their money.
Background: The Federal Government (FG) secured a long-fought court win when a Federal High Court in Lagos delivered a judgment which ordered the permanent forfeiture of the sum of $8.4 million and another N9.2 billion to the Federal Government.
Justice Olatoregun, who delivered the judgment, further held that she had
- “No doubts, at all, that these monies are proceeds of unlawful activities.” and “failed to show cause why the monies should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria. ”
What next: Jonathan has already filed a notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal to challenge the court decision.
In a statement credited to her lawyers, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) and Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), they insisted that the funds were legitimately obtained.
- “It is not the law that if the EFCC finds money in an account and it doesn’t like the owner’s face, it comes to court and says ‘forfeit it’. The government is at liberty to apply for forfeiture but the offence must be stated.”
Bottomline: This case is destined to be one of those that would run for years. Only round one has been concluded, and it has taken almost four years to get to this point. With an appeal imminent, and another potential appeal to the Supreme Court, no matter which way the Appeal Court’s verdict goes, this is far from over.
Meanwhile, it appears that the current first lady, Aisha Buhari, is borrowing massively from Patience Jonathan’s playbook. Maybe at some point in the future she would have to explain the source of her own newfound wealth.