Patience Jonathan Re-files Suit on Frozen $15.5m

Dame Patience Jonathan
Dame Patience Jonathan

Patience Jonathan Re-files Suit on Frozen $15.5m

A former First Lady, Patience Jonathan, yesterday refiled a suit seeking to vacate a no debit order placed on her account containing $15.5 million at Skye Bank Plc by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court, Lagos, had on May 8, ordered the re-filing of the suit through writ rather than by originating summons. At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, Justice Idris granted an application by the former first lady seeking an extension of time within which to reply to EFCC’s statement of defence.

Dame Patience Jonathan
Former First Lady, Patience Jonathan

The judge subsequently fixed January 19, 2018 as the date for commencement of trial. While ordering the refiling of the suit, Justice Idris held that it will not be proper for the plaintiff to commence the suit by way of originating summons since issues surrounding the ownership of the money were largely contentious among parties.

The judge while noting that oral evidences will be needed to resolve the issue in contention, ordered parties to file their pleadings in line with the Federal High Court rules 2009 for trial to commence in the matter.

“The EFCC has argued that the matter was not properly commenced by originating summons on the premise that the facts were in total dispute and as such ought to come by writ. “The plaintiff in her response argued that the affidavit evidence showed largely that there were no disputed facts of substance among the parties and that if the court is not sure of this, it should order pleadings so that a full trial can be embarked upon.

“It is now settled law that originating process is the ideal process to commence a suit where there is no dispute. The issue in contest is on the ownership of the fund in the account of the 4th, 5th and 6th defendants. “In respect of this issue, the contention appears divided and facts are in substantial dispute. In the light of the above, it cannot be rightly contended that there are no disputed facts and substance as to the ownership of the said fund.

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