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Nobody has complained that I stole their money – Former First Lady Patience Jonathan

Amadin Ogbewe

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Patience Jonathan, the former first lady of Nigeria and wife to Goodluck Jonathan, has told a Federal High court sitting that no one has complained that she stole their money after her cash was seized by the EFCC. 

Patience Jonathan asked the court to order the release of the $5.7m and N2.4bn that was seized from her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Her lawyer, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), urged the court to dismiss the application by the EFCC which was seeking for the money to be forfeited to the Federal Government.

According to him, the money was received as a gift by the First Lady while in office.

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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.”

Also, 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.

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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.”

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