A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, Monday, adjourned hearing of Patience Jonathan’s suit seeking to unfreeze her accounts of $15.5million in them.
Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned the case to enable the former first lady’s lawyers to respond to an objection by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC.
Patience Jonathan is praying the court to discharge a no debit order placed on the accounts.
The judge on May 8 held that Patience Jonathan and other parties must give oral evidence on the money’s ownership, which according to him, all the defendants’ counter-affidavits contain disputed facts that could not be decided without oral evidence.
He directed them to file pleadings, which they did.
“In the circumstances, the court hereby orders that the parties herein file pleadings in accordance with the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules 2009 and trial shall then proceed accordingly”, Justice Idris held.
The EFCC had urged the court not to unfreeze the accounts because the money was suspected to be ” proceed of crime”.
Skye Bank Plc, Jonathan’s former aide Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, Pluto Property and Investment Company Ltd, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Ltd, Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Ltd and Avalon Global Property Development Ltd are the other respondents.
The companies, through their representatives, had pleaded guilty to laundering the money last September 15, when they were arraigned before Justice Babs Kuewumi of the same court.
They were charged along with Dudafa, Briggs and a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku, for allegedly laundering the money.
Unlike the companies, Dudafa, Briggs and Bolodeoku pleaded not guilty to the 17-count charge.
In a supporting affidavit to her application, Patience Jonathan’s aide, Sammie Somiari, said Dudafa helped the former first lady to open the accounts around March 2010.
The deponent claimed Mrs. Jonathan was the sole signatory to the accounts and that she had no relationship with the companies.