The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seems to change tactics in the case with former first Patience Jonathan. Now, it has entered nole-prosqui in some cases and the courts are responding with striking them out. This is said to be to pave way for filing asset seizure instead of prosecution.
Now, the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has struck out a suit filed by the EFCC freezing the sum of $5.3 billion.
The money is domiciled in a bank account and linked to the wife of the former President, Mrs Patience Jonathan and six others.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun struck out the suit at the instance of the EFCC who filed an application to discontinue same.
Last week Friday, Justice Olatoregun had struck out the Commission’s ex-parte application for the seizure of certain funds belonging to Mrs Jonathan after holding that the issue was already a subject of litigation before two other judges, Justice Murtala-Nyako and Justice John Tsoho, both of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The judge also criticised the EFCC for engaging in forum shopping by filing multiple suits on the seizure of the funds, one with a total of $8,435,788.84 ($8.43m) and another for N7.35 Billion.
With the court striking out the cases and a similar discontinuance application filed by the EFCC before Justice Nyako in Abuja, the EFCC will now file an application for the forfeiture of the funds to the Federal Government.
The court presided by Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, had sometime in December 2016, while granting EFCC’s ex-parte application ordered that the account be frozen pending the conclusion of investigation on the monies.
The judge had also ordered the EFCC to file an undertaking as to damages if it turned out that the order was erroneously granted.
In urging the court to temporarily freeze the account, the EFCC through one of its investigators, Abdulahi Tukura, in an affidavit, told the court that Mrs Patience Jonathan used different companies and individuals to acquire the money.
The investigator also said that Mrs Jonathan’s money in a bank account with a current balance of $5,842,316.66 billion, is reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.
Another individual, Esther Oba who is said to be at large is also said to be in possession of $429,381.87 million said to belong to Mrs Jonathan.
At the hearing of the matter on Thursday, a lawyer to one of the respondents, Ige Asemudara, told the court that he was duly informed by the EFCC’s lawyer, Mohammed Idris, who was equally in court, that, the anti-graft agency had signified its intention to discontinue the suit, by filing a notice of discontinuance.
Asemudara, therefore, urged the court to strike out the suit.
Asemudara’s application was granted, and Justice Olatoregun consequently struck out the suit.