Company Linked To Patience Jonathan Urges Court to Lift Forfeiture Orders on N1.04bn

A limited liability company, Magel Resort Limited, linked to the former first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, which its N1.04 billion was temporary forfeited to the federal Government of Nigeria, has urged the court to release its money

It would be recalled that a Federal High Court, sitting in Kano, presided over by Justice A. Lewis-Allagoa, recently ordered that the said sum  be forfeited in the interim to the Federal government of Nigeria, while granting an exparte motion filed before the court by the Economic and financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

In urging the court to lift the forfeiture order, the company, Magel Resort Limited, through it’s lawyer, Ige Asemudara, urged the court for an order setting aside the order of the court made on January 16, 2019 and dismissing this suit on the ground that same is an abuse of court process.

The company also asked the court for an order returning the deposit of the said funds from the Federal Government Treasury Single Account back to its Fidelity Bank Account number 4011019546 where the funds are domiciled. 

The company said one of the grounds for the orders is that on December 17, 2018, the EFCC filed a motion exparte before this Honourable court praying for several reliefs inclusive of an order of forfeiture of the monies in the accounts of the Applicant herein. And that the said application dated December 14, 2018 but made on December 17, 2018, is a gross abuse of court process, as said account has been temporally forfeited by an exparte order made by Hon. Justice M. Olatoregun of the Federal High Court Lagos on April 20, 2013 in Suit Number FHC/L/CS/620/2013 which is still being challenged.

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The company also stated that it had May 9, 2018 filed an application praying the Federal High Court Lagos, coram Hon. Justice Olatoregun to set aside the forfeiture order for being an abuse of Judicial process, after joining issues with the EFCC which has applied for the final forfeiture of the said money on June 2018. Adding that it also opposed the application for final forfeiture and arguments have been proffered January 15, 2019 and judgment has been reserved February 11, 2019.

Magel also stated that a similar application by the EFCC in Suit No FHC/L/CS/1918/2017 was struck out by Olatoregun, on day of April 13, 2018 for being an abuse of Judicial Process and this account number was part of named parties in the suit.

The applicant stated that the Exparte Originating Summons filed by the EFCC  amounts to forum shopping, thus an abuse of court process, as same application had earlier been filed by the Respondent before this Honourable court in suits number FHC/L/CS/640/17, FHC/L/CS/1342/16 all before Hon. Justice C. M. Olatoregun and upon which it had obtained an exparte order from this same honourable court; Per Olatoregun J which order is still subsisting.

It also stated that December 17, 2018 when the EFCC Respondent filed this present suit, the said suit No FHC/L/CS/620/18 was pending and is still pending at the Lagos Judicial Division before Hon. Justice C. M. Olatoregun with Judgment reserved  February 11, 2019.

While adding that the EFCC also failed to serve a copy of the said Interim Order of forfeiture granted by this Honourable Court or publish same as stipulated by the said Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related Offences Act, 2006.

Magel Resorts Limited, in an affidavit deposed to by Chinnedu  ,a legal practitioner In the law mm of Granville …..,  co.,  that he was informed by Mr. David SIka, it’s Manager with the Applicant herein on the 4″ day of February, 2019 at our office at 3 Amazing Grace Avenue. M13100 Estate. Opposite Trans Amadl Gardens Estate, 011 Peter 061“ Road, Port Harcoun by 1pm and I vedly 111111 to be true that he (the applicant/Respondent head news Items online wherein the EFCC had secured an order of Interim forfeiture over the company’s account number 4011019546 domiciled in Fidelity Bank. Adding that the said order was granted by this honourable court on the 16th day of January, 2019 but was never brought to Its attention until the company read the

item. The Company was never served the order of interim forfeiture and has not been served the order till date.

The deponent also stated that the said order was made by this Honourable Court Without the Applicant/Respondent disclosing to this honourable court that a similar order regarding same account, same parties and subject matter had already been secured by the same commission (Applicant/Respondent) in Lagos via suit no FHC/L/CS/620/18 coram Hon. Justice C. M. Olatoregun.

The deponent stated that in the application referred to above, the Respondent/Applicant (Magel Resort Limited) is the sixth Respondent and the account affected by the present order and that of FHC/L/CS/620 pending before Hon Justice C. M. Olatoregun are the same account number 4011019546, and with same amount being N1,000,494,000 (One Billion Four Hundred And Ninety Four Thousand Naira).

And that the Application by the Applicant/Respondent EFCC made on the December 17 2018, via a Motion Exparte before this Honourable court praying for several reliefs inclusive of an order of forfeiture of the monies in the accounts of the Applicant herein is also affected by the Order of Hon Justice Olatoregun’s order and same order is still alive and subsisting. The said application made exparte was filed after Hon. Justice C. M. Olatoregun’s order had been made.

The deponent also stated that the Applicant (Mabel Resort Limited) had on the May 9, 2018, filed an application praying the Federal High Court Lagos, coram Hon. Justice C. M. Olatoregun to set the forfeiture order aside for being an abuse of judicial process and even went ahead to show cause. A copy of the Motion to set aside the said order and that Magel Resort Limited had joined issues with the EFCC, which had went a step further to apply for final forfeiture on June 12, 2018.

The deponent also stated that asimilar application by the EFCC in Suit No FHC/L/CS/1918/2017, was struck out by this Honourable Court, on April 13, 2018, an abuse of Judicial Process.  And that as at December 17, 2018 when the 1st Respondent filed this present suit No FHC/L/CS/620/18 was pending and is still pending, it also failed to serve the his employer herein a copy of the said Interim Order of forfeiture granted by this Honourable Court or publish same as stipulated by the said Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related offences Act. 2006.

The deponent further States that he was informed by the Mr. David Sika, a Manager with the Applicant on February 4, 2019 at about 1pm in his Office, that he is yet to see a publication (If any) of the order made by this honourable court over the company’s account affected by the order. And that the actions of the Respondent herein is highly annoying and irritating to them.

He also stated that he was informed by the Chief Mike Ozhekhome (SAN), who is the lead counsel in the matter that on the February 6, 2019 at the said application dated December 14, 2015, but filed on the 17th day of December, 2018 is a gross abuse of court process as same account 4011019546 domiciled in Fidelity bank has been temporarily forfeited by an exparte order made by Hon. Justice M. Olatoregun of the Federal High Court Lagos on April 20, 2013 In Suit Number FHC/L/CS/620/2018 which is still being challenged. And that the actions of the Respondent herein is highly annoying and irritating to them.

He also stated that the Exparte application filed by the EFCC is amounts to forum shopping, thus an abuse of court process, as same application had earlier been filed by the Respondent before this Honourable court in suits number FHC/L/CS/620/2018, FHC/L/CS/1342/16 and upon which it had obtained an exparte order from this honourable court; AND also before Hon. Justice Binta Nyako of same court In suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/821/2016 over same parties to be affected by this same application and recently Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1207/2017.

And that the application is another way of the Respondent’s constant use of court process to harass, intimidate, oppress, embarrass and irritate the Applicants.

that having regard to the date of filing of the application for the interim forfeiture by the Respondent, the respondent decided to me the instant application so as to overreach the other suits pending aver this me account and subject matter to other to over reach the judgment on February 11, 2019.

The deponent while urging the court to lift the forfeiture order on his employer’s money said the procedure adopted the EFCC affects the court’s jurisdiction in making the interim order of forfeiture.

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