Court orders forfeiture of Jonathan’s houses for 45 days

Former First Lady, Patience Jonathan

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday has ordered an interim forfeiture of two houses, both in Abuja and linked to former first lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan.

The houses situated at Plot No. 1960, Cadastral Zone A05, Maitama District; and Plot No. 1350, Cadastral Zone, were said to be held in the name of Ariwabai Aruera Reachout Foundation, of which Mrs Jonathan is reportedly, a “trustee.”

This is according to an investigation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The anti-graft agency had, in an ex parte application filed in September last year, asked for an interim forfeiture of the properties, which it claimed were subjects of an ongoing criminal investigation.

Ruling on the EFCC’s ex parte application on Monday, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba dismissed Mrs Jonathan’s objection to the application for lacking in merit.

The court then ordered the interim forfeiture, which he, however, ruled must only last for 45 days.

He ruled that within the 45 days, EFCC must conclude its investigations and charge the suspects being investigated in respect of the alleged crimes linked to properties.

The judge, however, added that the EFCC was at liberty to file an application for the extension of the lifespan of the order before the expiration of the initial 45 days.

He also ordered that if for any reason EFCC’s officials needed to access the properties within the period of interim forfeiture, they must do so with the respondents in attendance.

Justice Dimgba also ordered that the inventory of the fixtures in the properties and a report to that effect be submitted to the court.