Former first lady of Nigeria, Patience Jonathan, has asked a Lagos federal high court to order the release of the $5.8m and N2.4bn seized from her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The court had earlier ordered an interim forfeiture of the funds allegedly traced to the accounts of Patience in 2018.
Lawyer of Patience, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), urged the judge,Mojisola Olatoregun, to dismiss the application of the EFCC, praying that the money is permanently forfeited to the federal government.
Adedipe argued that there was no justification for the money to be forfeited to the federal government as the EFCC had not proved that the defence stole the said money from the government or anybody.
The SAN noted that the funds were cash gifts the defendant received when her husband was in office, adding that such gifts were “normal”.
Adedipe said, “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.
“The first respondent is a wife to a former deputy governor, governor, Vice President, and President.
“Even the current occupier of the office of the First Lady wants to build a university. In this country, First ladies enjoy a lot of goodwill. She (Patience) stated that governors gave her money. Nobody wrote that she stole their money.”
Source: The Nation