A bid by former first lady, Patience Jonathan, to halt proceedings on her $15.591 million frozen accounts suffered a setback yesterday, as a federal high court in Lagos refused her application.
Mrs. Jonathan, through her counsel, Ifedayo Adedipe, had urged Justice Mohammed Idris in an oral application to restrain another judge of the court, Justice Babs Kuewumi, from taking further steps on the $15.591 million frozen by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) until the determination of the interlocutory application.
The applicant is claiming the sum of $200 million against the EFCC, Skye Bank Plc, a former special assistant to ex-president Jonathan, Waripama-Owei Dudafa, and four others, for what she described as inconvenience and embarrassment suffered as a result of the freezing of her accounts.
Also joined in the fundamental rights enforcement suit are Pluto Property and Investment Company Ltd, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Ltd, Transocean Property and investment Company Ltd and Globus Integrarted Service Ltd.
The four companies, which the EFCC claimed were used by Dudafa to launder the $15.591 million, had already pleaded guilty to the offence before Kuewumi.
The sum involved in the criminal case is the same money, which the former first lady, claimed as hers. She is also the sole signatory to the accounts of the companies. She, however, denied ownership of the companies.
At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, Justice Idris acknowledged a letter from the counsel representing Skye Bank, Lanre Ogunlesi, stating that he was indisposed and would not be able to come to court.
The judge said since Ogunlesi requested a new date to enable him appear in court, hearing of the application on notice could not go on.
Worried about the frozen funds, Adedipe urged the court to direct the EFCC not to tamper with the res (subject matter) of the case pending the hearing and determination of the interlocutory application.
However, Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, urged the court to dismiss the application, submitting that the accounts that housed the money had long been frozen, while the identified directors to the companies had pleaded guilty to an offense of conspiracy and money laundering in the ongoing criminal trial before Kuewumi.The judge adjourned the case till December 7, 2016, for hearing of the main application