Judge’s withdrawal stalls Patience Jonathan’s appeal hearing
The appeal filed by former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan was yesterday stalled, following the withdrawal of one of the judges.
The presiding judge, Justice John Ikyeh, informed the court that the withdrawal was based on personal reasons.
Ikyeh said the three-man panel would not form a quorum if the judge, whom he declined to name, withdraws.
Other members of the panel are Justices Abimbola Obaseki-Adejumo and Abrahim Georgewill.
He said: “One of us is going to recuse himself from this case for personal reasons, so we are not complete. Two of us cannot make a quorum.”
Patience Jonathan is seeking to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from confiscating her $5.7million and over N2.4 million to the Federal Government.
But the counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, urged the court to consider hearing the appeal, as early as possible, preferably during its vacation.
We pray that “we can be accommodated during the vacation, since our challenge is that the trial court has stayed proceedings over the subject matter of this suit,” he said.
The court declined granting the prayer since it did not form the required quorum.
The former first lady appeal was prompted by an order by a Federal High Court in Lagos, granting the EFCC a temporary forfeiture of the cash to the government.
EFCC had told Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, who made the order, that the funds were suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
Mrs. Jonathan, in the notice of appeal, is praying the court to hold that the law cited by the EFCC in its ex-parte application for the temporary forfeiture was inapplicable.
Justice Ikyeh adjourned the suit till September 18, 2017, which would be one week after the annual vacation.