By Doosuur Iwambe – Abuja
The legal battle lunched against the Former first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan continued yesterday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission which asked the Abuja Division of Federal High Court to forfeit her Abuja properties.
However, the EFCC lost its bid to go on after it failed to convinced the court to hear the motion ex-parte seeking an order to forfeit plot. No 1785 Cadastral Zone Ado Central Business District, Abuja belonging to former first lady.
Counsel to Mrs. Jonathan, Chief Mike Ozekhome who filed an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the motion exparte maintained that the court lack jurisdiction to hear grant the order.
On his part, Sylvanus Tahir who represented the EFCC prayed the court to hear the motion saying, the application is an exparte in the face of the law.
Tahir told the court that the motion exparte is seeking an order of the court to freeze the property located at plot No 1758 Cadastral Zone Ado Central Business District, Abuja which the alleged is a produce of crime.
He said that Dame Jonathan is a stranger to the exparte motion, therefore she cannot challenge the motion. He urged the court to allow him to move the motion and grant the order freezing the property adding that it is only when that is done that Dame Jonathan could ask for a revocation of the order.
However, Ozekhome who was also allowed to address the court by Jonathan lead counsel Ifedayo Adedipe SAN, said that their application is challenging the jurisdiction of the court and that there are circumstances where an exparte application can be opposed like the instant case.
He said that the EFCC motion is an example where an exparte application can be challenged because is an abuse of court process.
According to the lawyer, the commission want to overreach the fundamental human rights suit pending before this court in suit No /FHC/CS/586/2017 filed by Ariwabai Aruewa Reachout Foundation filed by the owner of the property the commission seeks to freeze.
In his ruling Justice Nnamdi Dimgba held that the exparte applications are heard without the other party and that is the general principle.
He noted that there was no counter affidavit challenging the motion on jurisdiction. He also observed that issue of abuse of court process has been raised.
Therefore, for the singular reason that the court must protect its integrity, the court have to conduct inquiry and that the only way to conduct that inquiry will be to take both applications together.
The judge subsequently adjourned the matter to November 11