By Akinwale Akintunde
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday lost an attempt to make former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan and six others lose $8. 435,789.84 million, andÂ N9,185, 327, 362 billion, linked to them as the Federal High Court struck out a forfeiture application filed by the agency.
Justice Majisola Olatoregun struck out the application for being abuse of court processes.
The judge held that the commission failed to show enough evidence to reflect that the matter before her court was not subject to litigation before any other court.
The EFCC had alleged that the monies were in custody of Skye Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, and Stabic-IBTC and First Bank Plc.
Joined as respondents alongside Mrs. Jonathan in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1918/2017 are,Â Globus Integrated Service Limited; Finchley Top Homes Limited; AM-PM Global Network Limited; Pagmat Oil and Gas Limited and Magel Resort Limited and one Esther Oba.
The court had earlier granted an ex-parte application filed by the EFCC, temporarily forfeiting the said amount, after it ordered the Commission to file an affidavit showing that the said sums were not subject of litigation.
In her ruling, Justice Olatoregun also berated EFCC for its habit of carrying out media trial against suspects rather than doing justice to accused persons and the society.Â
She criticised EFCC’s act of forum shopping, running from one court to another, in order denigrate and malign suspects without putting their acts together.
She ruled that it was an abuse of court process to file similar cases such as the one before her in different divisions of the Federal High Court as the EFCC did before Justice Nyako, herself and Justice Tsoho of Abuja and Lagos Divisions of the same Federal High Court.Â
She held that fighting corruption did not equate to not respecting citizensâ€™ rights.
She consequently, struck out the EFCC’s application for being abuse of court processes.
Mrs. Jonathan had through her lawyers, Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) and Mr. Mike Ozekhomeh (SAN), told the court to dismiss the EFCC’s application against their clients, for being abuse of court processes.
In one of the hearings, the two Senior Advocates told the court that the EFCC had filed similar application before a Federal High Court, Abuja, which was yet to be determined, before the application of the same matter and subject matter was filed before the court.
However, the EFCC through its lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo had told the court that his employer, EFCC, had filed a notice on discontinuance on the case before Justice Binta Nyanko.