The supreme court has upheld an order of interim forfeiture made by a federal high court in Lagos in connection to the $8.4 million traced to Patience Jonathan, former first lady by the EFCC.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had announced that it traced the money to her.
In its judgement on Friday, a five-man panel of the court led by Dattijo Muhammad unanimously ruled that the appeal filed by the former first lady, challenging the interim forfeiture, was without merit.
The court also rejected her prayer to strike down the provisions of Section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud Act and other Fraud related offences Act, which was relied on by the Federal High Court to issue the order of interim forfeiture.
Upholding the decision of the Court of Appeal in Lagos, which had affirmed the Federal High Court’s interim order, Justice Kumai Aka’ahs, in the lead judgment of the apex court on Friday, held, “I do not find any reason to interfere with the decision of the lower court.”
Justice Aka’ahs added, “Appellant is to go back to the trial court (the Federal High Court) to show cause why the interim order should not be made permanent.”
The lead judgment was read on behalf of Justice Aka’ahs by Justice Ejembi Eko, also a member of the panel.
Other members of the five-man panel, Justices Muhammad, John Okoro, Eko, and Sidi Bage, agreed with Justice Aka’ahs’ lead judgment.
In April, Mojisola Olatoregun of the federal high, Lagos, granted EFCC the ex parte order.
She also ordered the EFCC to publish the court’s order in any major national newspaper to enable the respondents or anyone interested in the funds to appear before the court to show cause within 14 days why the final order of forfeiture of the said funds should not be made in favour of the federal government.
The former first lady had filed an appeal before the court of appeal to challenge the competence of the ex parte application filed by the EFCC to request the order of interim forfeiture.
She also challenged the validity of the order made by the trial court and the constitutionality of section 17 of AFFA.