Court adjourns Patience Jonathan’s funds forfeiture suit to May 22
Interpreter’s absence stalls trial of two Chinese nationals
A Federal High Court in Lagos, yesterday adjourned to May 22, a suit seeking the final forfeiture of $5.8 million belonging to former First Lady, Patience Jonathan.
The trial judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun adjourned the suit, following argument by counsel to Jonathan, Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe, that the respondent was not given sufficient notice to file a response.
The court had on April 26, issued an interim order for the forfeiture of the money to the Federal Government.
The order followed an ex parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), seeking a forfeiture of the sum, pending the determination of the motion on notice.
The court had granted the interim order and further directed that it be advertised in a national daily, to enable any interested party to appear and show cause why the interim order should not be made final.
Yesterday, Adedipe informed the court of a notice of appeal that he had filed against the court’s ruling, as well as a motion for the stay of further proceedings.
He argued that the EFCC ought to have waited to abide by the decision of the Court of Appeal in respect of the matter.
Adedipe also noted that the publication of the court’s order in the national daily was done on May 11, adding that such notice was too short to allow for the filing of any response.
In response, counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo argued that the court’s business was for any interested party to appear and show cause.
He noted that the argument of the respondent’s counsel fell outside the purview of the court’s business with respect to the matter and urged that the matter be continued.
Justice Olatoregun therefore adjourned on the ground that the time frame of the said publication was short.
Meanwhile, the absence of an interpreter, yesterday stalled the trial of two Chinese who were charged with the importation of sub-standard tyres at the Federal High Court, Lagos.
The accused persons, Shen, 36 and Yau, 22 were charged alongside a Nigerian, Chinedu Madubuike and two companies, Sino Nigeria Import and Export Limited and Nedeca International Limited.
The court had earlier arraigned them on March 20, where they pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail.
Justice Olatoregun fixed July 5 for the continuation of trial.