By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
Hearing on a motion before a Federal High Court seeking to seize property traced to the wife of the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, has been adjourned till April 12.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba fixed the date following a request by the counsel to Mrs. Jonathan, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, sought the leave of the court for time to respond to the counter affidavit filed by the applicant.
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) had filed an ex parte motion seeking temporary forfeiture of some properties allegedly belonging to Ariwabai Aruera Reachout Foundation which has link with the former first lady; situated at plot No. 1758, Cadastral Zone, B06 Mabushi and plot No.1350, Cadastral Zone, A00 Central Business District, Abuja.
At the last adjourned date, Justice Dimgba had ordered the investigation of claim by the respondent that the said properties have been demolished by agents of the Federal government.
However, when the matter came up for hearing yesterday, counsel to anti-graft agency, Rimamsomte Ezekiel, told the court that its investigations showed that the said properties it seeks to freeze were not the ones demolished by agents of the government as claimed by the respondent.
He, however, said he has filed a counter affidavit, challenging the veracity of the respondent’s claims.
Responding, Chief Ozekhome refuted the claim of the EFCC lamenting that but for the insecurity in the country, the respondent would have moved the court to the demolished cite to personally confirm for itself.
Going further, Ozokhome informed the court that the respondent has a CD (compact disk) of the demolished building which it would present to the court at the next sitting.
He also claimed that the EFCC destroyed two of the four buildings and only took pictures of the two remaining buildings from the back, adding that even if it was a room that was demolished, the applicant does not have the right to do so since the matter was already in court.
In his short ruling, Justice Dimgba adjourned to 12 April for the hearing of the matter.
It will be recalled that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Development and Control had allegedly demolished the said properties of the former first lady on 16th of January 2018.
According to Ozokhome, the demolition took place despite a suit challenging the temporary forfeiture application of the EFCC of the properties which is pending before a sister court presided over by Justice John Tsoho.
“My Lord, we are in a democracy, not dictatorship. Demolition of the properties which are a subject matter of a suit before the court is the highest level of lawlessness and disregard to the rule of law. It is an act of intimidation on the judiciary.
“You cannot destroy properties already a subject matter of a suit before a court whether done directly or indirectly by the government or EFCC.”