A federal high court in Abuja has ordered an interim forfeiture of two houses allegedly linked to Patience Jonathan, former first lady.
Nnamdi Dimgba, a judge, gave the order in a suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He dismissed Jonathan’s objection to the application for lacking in merit.
Situated at Plot No. 1960, Cadastral Zone A05, Maitama District, and Plot No. 1350, Cadastral Zone A00, both in Abuja, the properties were said to be in the name of Ariwabai Aruera Reachout Foundation, which Jonathan is one of its trustees.
Dimgba said the forfeiture must last for only 45 days within which the anti-graft agency must conclude its investigations.
The anti-graft agency also asked the court for an order stopping any disposal, conveyance, mortgage, lease, sale or alienation or otherwise of the properties.
“An order authorising the EFCC to appoint competent person(s)/firm to manage the asset/property listed in the schedule herein, temporarily forfeited to the federal government pending the conclusion of investigation,” he said.
The agency said application was predicated on the fact that the property was a subject matter of investigation, inquiry and examination.
The judge in his ruling on the ex parte motion, granted the EFCC a 45-day of grace period within which to investigate whether the property was acquired by Jonathan with proceeds of crime.
“I have carefully considered the processes filed. I have also carefully considered the arguments,” he said.
“Accordingly, a period of 45 days is accorded to the EFCC to investigate whether the properties in question were acquired with the proceeds of crime.”
The judge also dismissed the motion challenging the originating summons.
In his reaction, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Jonathan’s counsel, said it was a well considered judgment.
“We did not lose; we won. What the EFCC wanted was for the property in dispute to be attached and forfeited to the government but the court refused, instead, gave them 45 days to further investigate and prosecute if they so wish with liberty to apply for renewal.”