Former First lady, Patience Jonathan, has asked the Federal High Court in Lagos state to order the EFCC to release her seized $5.7m and N2.4bn as no Nigerian has come out to say she stole their money. The former First said this during the resumed hearing of the case filed against her by the EFCC yesterday Friday, May 24th.
Speaking through her counsel, Mrs. Jonathan argued that the seized money were cash gifts she received when her husband was in office and not proceeds of crime. She appealed to Justice Mojisola Olatoregun to dismiss the application by the EFCC, praying that the money be permanently forfeited to the federal government. She argued that it was wrong for the antigraft agency to tag her money as proceeds of crime as they have not been able to substantiate their claims that she was engaged in financial crimes while her husband served as President.
Her counsel argued that section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud, which EFCC relied upon to seize Patience Jonathan’s funds, was only applicable to fraudsters.
“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 Jonathan) stated that governors gave her money. Nobody wrote that she stole their money,” the SAN said.