Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos in Monday declined the request of former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan seeking to unfreeze her accounts which has a sum to the tune of $15.591 million.
Justice Idris however, observed that all the defendants had formulated issues of different dimensions from the one formulated by the plaintiff in the originating summons.
“The issues formulated by all the defendants are baseless. They 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 appears 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.”
“Where processes are not properly prepared, any defect would render the proceeding fatal as the court cannot re-formulate the issues for determination.”
“There is a contention as to issues and facts as to the money’s ownership.”
“In respect of this issue, the contention appears divided, and there is clearly an air of friction in the proceedings.”
“All the counter-affidavits filed by the defendants contains disputed facts that cannot be decided without oral evidence.”
“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,” the Judge ruled.”
It would be recalled that the former first lady had prayed Justice Idris to issue an order unfreezing the accounts to enable her have access to the money.
Joined as respondents in the suit are: the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), 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.
The firms had through their representatives pleaded guilty to laundering the said sum on September 15 2016, when they were docked before Justice Babs Kuewumi of the same court.
They were specifically charged to court alongside Dudafa, Briggs and a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku, for allegedly laundering the sum.
But Briggs and Bolodeoku pleaded not guilty to the 17-count charge.
According to a supporting affidavit to the suit, Mrs Jonathan’s aide, Sammie Somiari, argued that Dudafa assisted the former first lady to open the accounts.
Somiari further revealed that on March 22, 2010, Dudafa brought two Skye Bank officers, Demola Bolodeoku and Dipo Oshodi, to meet Mrs. Jonathan.