*Judge refuses to unfreeze accounts
The Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday refused to grant Mrs. Patience Jonathan’s request to release the controversial accounts holding $15.591million.
Justice Mohammed Idris said she and others must give oral evidence on the money’s ownership.
Mrs. Jonathan will, therefore, be required to appear in court to give evidence on how she came about the money, which the EFCC described as a “proceed of crime”.
Since the case was filed, Mrs. Jonathan has never attended the proceedings. She has always been represented by lawyers.
She sued the EFCC for placing a no-debit order on the Skye Bank Plc accounts.
Justice Idris ordered parties to file pleadings since issues were joined on the money’s ownership.
The judge said the defendants formulated issues that were different from the one formulated by Mrs. Jonathan in her originating summons, which he said was “unacceptable”.
Besides, he said the nature of the case is not one to be decided by originating summons procedure in which witnesses are not called to testify.
The judge rules: “The issues formulated by all the defendants are baseless. They go to no issue and will be ignored by the court.
“I hold that this court lacks the competence to determine the issues raised by the defendants in their written addresses, having abandoned the specific issues formulated by the plaintiff in the originating summons.
“It is unfortunate. I say this because the issues raised by the defendants appear on the face of it good and deserving to be considered on their merit.
“But, I as I understand it to be the law, sentiment has no basis in the adjudicatory system.”
Recall that 5 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 with Dudafa, Briggs, a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku for money laundering.
EFCC has insisted that the money is a proceed of crime and should be forfeited to Nigeria.