By Davidson Iriekpen
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday watched in open court, video clips presented as exhibits in an $8.4 million and N7.4 billion forfeiture case, linked to a former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on April 20, 2018, via an ex parte application, obtained an interim order for forfeiture of the sum on April 20, 2018.
It joined as respondents: Patience Jonathan, Globus Integrated Services Ltd, Finchley Top Homes Ltd., Am-Pm Global Network Ltd, Pagmat Oil and Gas Ltd, Magel Resort Ltd and Esther Oba, as first to seventh respondents.
While granting the interim forfeiture order, the court had directed that the order be published in the national dailies, for any interested party to appear and show cause why a final order should not be made.
On October 29, 2018, EFCC’s counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, moved his motion seeking final forfeiture of the sums, but Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), counsel to the respondents opposed the said applications for final forfeiture and urged the court to hear his counter affidavits.
Specifically, Ozekhome, who appeared for the third to sixth respondents, had informed the court that exhibits F5 of his processes, confirmed that the third respondent (Finchley Homes) was a company, and showed video evidences of various outfits legitimately run by it.
Ozekhome then applied and requested to allow him present videos as exhibits in court which application was granted by the judge.
At the resumption of hearing yesterday, five videos were displayed during the proceedings in close succession, in a projector in the courtroom.
The first video which spanned a period of 25 minutes, showed business outlets and products of Finchley Homes Ltd, (third respondent), including interior and exterior home decorations, household utensils, textiles, drinks, noodles, furniture, its warehouse, as well as various pick-up vans belonging to the company.
The second video clip, which ran for four minutes, showed the business outfit of the sixth respondent (Magel Resort Ltd), located in Otuoke, Bayelsa State, showed the luxurious Hotel and Suites with well equipped IT centres.
Similarly, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), counsel to the first respondent, also exhibited three more videos, showing activities of the Women for Change Initiative, a non-governmental organisation, linked to Jonathan.
The third video, which ran for 10 minutes, showed the flag off of the initiative’s campaign; the fourth video also displayed for 10 minutes, showed aspects of the initiative’s empowerment of women through the distribution of bags of rice and other food items.
The fifth video which lasted for seven minutes, displayed a visit of the then first Lady, Patience, to Katsina State, also for the flag off of the initiative.
But EFCC’s counsel, Oyedepo, after final display of the video clips, informed the court that he had not been served with affidavit of the first respondent showing some of the exhibits displayed in court.