The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has debunked the claim by the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, that her Abuja property, which the commission was seeking to seize, had been demolished.
EFCC denied Mrs. Jonathan’s claim in its counter-affidavit filed before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The counter-affidavit was filed in response to the demolition claim made by Patience’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), during the January 22, 2018 proceedings.
Following Ozekhome’s claim, the judge had ordered an inquiry into the issue and fixed Monday for a report from the investigations.
The EFCC had filed an ex-parte application before the court for temporary forfeiture of the property.
The property, located at Plot 1758, Cadastral Zone A00 Central Business District, Abuja, is owned by Aruwabai Aruera Reachout Foundation and Women for Change and Development Initiatives.
The two non-governmental organisations are linked to Mrs. Jonathan.
On Monday, the EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Rimamsomte Ezekiel, while informing the judge that he had filed the commission’s counter-affidavit, said the claim of the demolition of the property was untrue.
An EFCC’s investigator, Mr. Kolawole Mukaila, who deposed to the counter-affidavit on behalf of the commission, said he had visited the property and found out that the claim by Mrs. Jonathan’s legal team that the property had been demolished was untrue.
Mukaila, however, said a chalet on the premises was demolished by the Federal Capital Territory Development Authority/Development Control.
While he insisted that the EFCC had no hand in the said demolition, he said the commission’s investigation revealed that the FCT authorities demolished the chalet because an approval was not obtained for the structure.
The counter-affidavit read in part, “That on the last date when this matter came up for hearing before this honourable court, the counsel representing the respondent/intervener misrepresented facts in making the court to believe that the entire structure which the applicant applied to be forfeited was demolished by officers of the applicants in conjunction with the Federal Capital Development Authority/Development Control, whereas it was only a mini chalet situated behind the main structure that was demolished by the Federal Capital Development Authority/Development Control due to non-approval.
“That based on the said misrepresentation, the court adjourned till February 26, 2018 for a report from both counsel if what was said is true.
“That I personally visited the property and confirmed that the property known as Plot 1758, Cadastral Zone A00, Central Business District, Abuja still exists and was never demolished by anyone. Attached are the photographs evidencing the current and true state of the property marked as Annexure EFCC 1-4”
But Ozekhome told Justice Dimgba on Monday that the EFCC’s counter-affidavit denying the demolition “is a lie from the pit of hell.”
“The counter-affidavit is a lie from the pit of hell. We are going to attack it for what it is,” he said.
He said were it to be when there was better security, he would have moved the court to the property to enable the judge to see the situation for himself.
“We have the VCD of the demolition attached to the earlier affidavit,” he said.
Ozekhome asked for time to enable him to file a “better and further affidavit” to debunk the claims in the EFCC’s counter-affidavit.
The judge fixed April 12 for hearing.