Dame Patience Jonathan, wife of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, has approached 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), saying “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.”
Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), Patience’s lawyer, asked Mojisola Olatoregun, the judge, to dismiss the application of the EFCC, seeking the permanent forfeiture to the federal government.
Adedipe told the court that there was no justification for the money to be forfeited to the federal government as the EFCC has failed to prove that his client stole the said money from the government or anybody, stressing that it was wrong for the EFCC to tag the money as proceeds of crime.
According to the senior advocate of Nigeria, the funds were cash gifts Mrs Jonathan received when her husband was in office.
He pointed out 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.”