BY OLUGBENGA SOYELE, Lagos
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday adjourned to May 22, a suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking final forfeiture of the sum of $5.8 million allegedly belonging to four companies linked to the former first lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun adjourned the case after counsel to Mrs. Jonathan, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), told the court that he was not availed sufficient notice to file a response to the suit.
It would be recalled that the judge had on April 26, issued an interim order for forfeiture of the sum of $5.8 million belonging to Jonathan.
The court had made the order after listening to an ex parte application argued by the counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, seeking a forfeiture of the sum to government, pending the determination of the motion on notice.
Apart from granting the interim order, the court further directed that same be advertised in a national daily, to enable any interested party to appear and show cause why the interim order should not be made final.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, Adedipe informed the court of a notice of Appeal he had filed against the court’s ruling as well as a motion for stay of further proceedings.
He argued that the EFCC ought to have waited to abide by the decision of the court of appeal in respect of the matter.
The lawyer also noted that the publication of the court’s order in the national daily was only done on May 11, adding that such notice was too short to allow for the filing of any response.
In response, lawyer to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo stressed that the business of the day was for any interested party to appear and show cause.
He noted that the argument of respondent ‘s counsel, fell outside the purview of the court’s business with respect to the matter at hand, and urged that progress be made.
In a short ruling, Justice Olatoregun held that the suit will only be adjourned on the grounds that the time frame of the said publication was short.