- Dame Patience Jonathan, Nigeria's former first lady, asked the court to unfreeze her account containing $15.591 million
- The Federal High Court however said there were discrepancies in the issues formulated by the defendants in the case
Former first lady of Nigeria, Dame Patience Jonathan, has lost her case seeking the unfreezing of her account containing the sum of $15.591 million.
Mrs Jonathan lost the case at the Federal High Court in Lagos headed by Justice Mohammed Idris on Monday, May 8.
The Nigerian Tribune reports that Justice Idris directed parties to file pleadings since issues have been joined as to who owns the said money.
According to Justice Idris, all the defendants in the case formulated issues of different dimensions far different from the one by the plaintiff in the originating summons.
The report quoted the judge as saying: “The issues formulated by all the defendants are baseless. They will be ignored by the court.
“I hold that this court lacks the competence to determine the issues raised by the defendants in their written addresses having abandoned the specific issues formulated by the plaintiff in the originating summons.
“It is unfortunate. I say this because the issues raised by the defendants appear on the face of it good and deserving to be considered on their merit.
“But I as I understand it to be the law, sentiment has no basis in the adjudicatory system.
“Where processes are not properly prepared, any defect would render the proceeding fatal as the court cannot re-formulate the issues for determination.
“There is a contention as to issues and facts as to the money’s ownership.
“In respect of this issue, the contention appears divided, and there is clearly an air of friction in the proceedings.
“All the counter-affidavits filed by the defendants contain disputed facts that cannot be decided without oral evidence.
“In the circumstances, the court hereby orders that the parties herein file pleadings in accordance with the Federal High Court civil procedure rules 2009 and trial shall then proceed accordingly.”
NAIJ.com reports that the former first lady had urged the Justice Idris to issue an order unfreezing the accounts to enable her have access to the money.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Skye Bank Plc, and Jonathan’s former aide Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, were joined in the suit.
Also joined were Pluto Property and Investment Company Ltd, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Ltd, Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Ltd and Avalon Global Property Development Ltd.
While the firms pleaded guilty to laundering the said sum on September 15 2016, when they were docked before Justice Babs Kuewumi, Briggs and a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku, pleaded not guilty to the 17-count-charge.
In a supporting affidavit to the suit, Mrs Jonathan’s aide, Sammie Somiari, reportedly argued that Dudafa assisted the former first lady to open the accounts.
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