By Sandra Umeh
The absence of Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of a Federal High Court Lagos on Wednesday, stalled proceedings in an application seeking permanent forfeiture of 5.7million dollars belonging to former First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan.
The case could not proceed as judges of the court’s Lagos division were said to be attending a valedictory session for former Chief Judge, Ibrahim Auta.
The case has now been fixed for Nov. 13.
It will be recalled that the court had on May 22 suspended proceedings in the case.
Justice Olatoregun stayed proceedings pending the outcome of an appeal challenging the money’s temporary forfeiture.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is praying the court to order that the cash be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
The judge, had on April 26, made an interim order forfeiting the money based on an application by EFCC.
Justice Olatoregun had also ordered the temporary forfeiture of N2.4 billion found in the name of La Wari Furniture and Baths Ltd.
The commission said the money also belonged to Mrs Jonathan.
Mrs Jonathan’s lawyer, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), had said he filed an application for stay of proceedings pending the appeal’s determination.
Counsel for La Wari Furniture and Baths, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), added that once an appeal had been entered, the lower court ought to stay proceedings.
Justice Olatoregun had then held that it would be in the interest of justice to await the Court of Appeal’s decision.
Mrs Jonathan, in the notice of appeal, is praying the court to hold that the law cited by the EFCC in its ex-parte application for the temporarily forfeiture was inapplicable.