Former Nigeria’s First Lady Patience Jonathan, has told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos that no one has complained that she stole their money.
The former First Lady asked the court to order the release of the $5.7m and N2.4bn seized from her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Lawyer to Mrs Jonathan, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), urged Justice Mojisola Olatoregun to dismiss the application by the EFCC.
The EFCC is asking the court to permanently forfeit the money to the Federal Government.
According to Adedipe, it was not right for the anti-graft agency to regard the money as the proceeds of crime, when the former President’s wife had committed no crime.
The lawyer pointed out that Patience received the money as a gift when her husband was in office.
He added, “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 senior lawyer told the court that there was no justification for the money to be forfeited to the Federal Government since the anti-corruption body had not proved that the former President’s wife stole money from the government or any individual.
“All that the EFCC said was that they saw money in her account and assumed it was stolen. They didn’t say from who,” he said.
Also, a frontline human rights and constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), appearing for La Wari Furniture and Baths, whose accounts were also frozen, told the court that the N2.4bn found in his clients’ accounts was legitimate.
He said, “It is settled law that suspicion, no matter how grave, can never amount to legal evidence to prove the guilt or culpability of anyone either in criminal or civil proceedings.
“They have not brought anybody to complain that money is missing. It is not a crime that La Wari Furniture and Baths had made money.’’
However, the EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, contended that the money was the proceeds of crime.
He said, “The $5m was not the first respondent’s (Patience’s) legitimate earnings. She was a public servant and a salary earner. The sums cannot be her legitimate income.
“We urge the court to agree with us and forfeit the sum to the Federal Government.”
He said the bank account in which the N2.4bn was found “was shrouded in mystery and fraud”.
Oyedepo said that when questioned by the EFCC, a director of La Wari Furniture and Baths, Mrs Oyewole Yemisi, claimed not to know anything about the company and that her signature was forged.
The matter was adjourned until June 24 for judgement.
Edo Guber Poll: You Are No Match For Wike, PDP Replies Ganduje
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Monday, described the chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, national campaign council for the Edo governorship election, and governor of Kano state, Abdullahi Ganduje, as a “barefaced treasury looter who has no moral rectitude to speak on corruption.”
The party stated this while reacting to comments credited to the Kano governor over the manner the APC would take Edo, specifically saying that his counterpart and governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike would be “isolated” until the conduct of the poll in Edo on September 19 this year.
In a statement issued by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP described as a huge irony that Governor Ganduje, “who has become a butt of national shame after being seen on viral video stuffing his robe with gratification in foreign currency,” would accuse the PDP of corruption intentions in the Edo state governorship election.
The statement read: “It is a paradox that an individual who has earned himself the disgraceful public sobriquet of “gandollar”, after being caught collecting gratification, would attempt to accuse others of having intention of looting the treasury of a state.
“The PDP points out that it is only in a party like the APC, under a Buhari Presidency, that such a tarnished individual can be selected to speak in public, let alone lead a governorship election campaign.
“Apparently, Governor Ganduje and other APC leaders are so used to looting public treasuries that such is his first mental direction after his inauguration to lead the Edo governorship campaign.
“Governor Ganduje has further confirmed the real intention of the APC, which is to use their morally embattled candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu for their desperate effort to regain access to Edo state treasury, after Governor Godwin Obaseki liberated the state from the stranglehold of APC treasury-looting godfathers.
“Our party invites Governor Ganduje to note that there is no free dollars for him and other APC leaders to loot in Edo state. Under the PDP, the resources of Edo state, and indeed other PDP states, belong to the people and not to any political cabal and their godfathers.
“Of course, this is why the people of Edo state are solidly behind Governor Obaseki for firmly resisting APC looters.”
“Moreover, Governor Ganduje, with his infamous “gandollar” video, is no match to the Chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council for the Edo election, Governor Nyesom Wike.
“Whereas Governor Wike is a highly respected, upright, honest, transparent, people-based and development-driven leader, who is firmly in touch with the people of Edo state and enjoys their confidence and trust, Governor Ganduje, on the other hand, represent a leadership that is fraught with dishonesty, corruption, non-performance and public shame.”
BREAKING: Integrity Group Emerges From APC NEC
In a bid to further sustain the repositioning efforts of the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee (CEONCPC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), a group of party faithful in the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, have formed APC NEC – Integrity Group.
The group which emerged from the Non-National Working Committee of National Executive Committee (Non-NWC NEC) has also appointed it’s leaders and conveyed same in a letter to the caretaker committee chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni.
The Group in a jointly-signed letter by Hon. Abubakar Sadiq Saadu (Chairman) and David Okumba (Secretary) and made available to newsmen in Abuja on Monday assured the CEONCPC Chairman of it’s support and readiness to work with the Caretaker Comitee in order to restore the party to it prime status.
Pledging it’s support the group wrote, “As NEC members we are always ready and available for the Caretaker committee and shall support committee in which ever way require in cause of steering the party’s affairs.”
It also commended President Muhammadu Buhari over the dissolution of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party and expressed optimism that the Caretaker Committee will engender genuine reconciliation and peace in the party.
Eulogising the leader of the caretaker committee, the group described the emergence of Mai Mala Buni, the Yobe State governor, the chair of the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee as a well thought out move.
The executive committee of the group as conveyed to the caretaker committee include, Hon. Abubakar Sadiq Saadu – North West (Chairman), Dr. Mrs. Racheal Akpabio – South South (Deputy Chairman), David Okumgba – South South (Secretary), Abubakar A. Musa – North East (Asst. Secretary), Lawal Kolade – South West (Treasurer), Terver Aginde – North Central (Organization/Mobilization), Hon. Muhammed S. Ibrahim – North West (Publicity/Strategic Communication) and Barr. Tanko Zakari – North Central (Legal Adviser).
Others are Muhammad Azare – North East (Welfare), Nduka Anyanwu – South East (Auditor), Bolaji Repete Hafeez – South West (Dep. Publicity/Strategic Communications), Hon. Ihuoma Onyebuchukwu – South East (Deputy Treasurer) and Abubakar Ajiya – North East (Coordinator) while is to serve as Abdulmunaf Muh’d – North West (Coordinator, John Uwaedu – South East (Coordinator), Adie Ferdinand Atsu – South South (Coordinator) and Jock Alamba – North Central (Coordinator)
For the Board of Trustees (BoT), the group appointed Alh. Nasiru Danu – North West (Chairman), Sunday Jacob – South East (Secretary),v Chief Koteteh Ibadan – South South (Member), Alh. Zakari Muhammad – North Central (Member) and Alh. Shuaibu Abdulrahaman – North East (Member).
Don’t Wake A Sleeping Lion, Fayose Tells Adesina
Former Ekiti Governor Ayodele Fayose has warned presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, not to “wake a sleeping lion”.
Reacting to Adesina’s latest piece, Fayose said failure to heed his warning could attract consequences that Adesina would be unable to cope with.
The Nation had reported the presidential spokesman said Buhari would have “dealt with” Fayose and Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike over their “combative remarks” but chose to tolerate the duo as a father of the nation.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Fayose said he decided not to comment about issues relating to Buhari because he has realised that “Buhari’s presidency is deaf and dumb”.
“On the comment by my brother and friend, @FemAdesina, on the President not “dealing with myself and Gov. Wike,” President Buhari, in my opinion is an “Accidental President,” who is not only clueless but unconscious of happenings in his own Presidency.
“A man who can’t defend or protect his immediate family is not in anyway better than an effigy. If not, those around him won’t be talking about a President “punishing” serving governors or even ordinary Nigerians as if they are his servants.”
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