The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday struck out the N2billion fundamental human rights enforcement suit brought by the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Mrs Patience Jonathan against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In a judgement delivered by Justice John Tsoho, the court held that the wife of the former President could not sustain her claims that her fundamental rights were violated by the anti-graft agency.
The court also held that the case of Mrs Jonathan was largely weakened by the EFCC’s deposition that investigations of the alleged crimes said to have been committed by Patience Jonathan are ongoing and in progress. EFCC had in its deposition averred that bogus sum of money were lodged in the sealed bank accounts Patience claimed are her own.
Justice Tsoho held that the law does not limit the period on investigation of a crime and further held that the case of Mrs Jonathan was not sustained.
On the complaint by the former first lady that the EFCC violated her rights to private and family life, the court held that there was no evidence to show that the EFCC raided her houses. This is so, particularly as EFCC denied it took part in the raid.
The court also held that “no verifiable evidence to prove that the applicant (Patience Jonathan ) is being hunted because of her views expressed during the 2015 general elections campaign’.
On Mrs Jonathan’s alleged violation her rights to fair hearing before the properties were sealed, the court held that her rights has not been violated as court has granted the anti-graft agency an interlocutory injunction sealing the properties on a reasonable ground of suspicion that the properties were obtained by proceeds of crime.
Justice Tsoho also justified the preservative order, adding that it does not amount to the violation of the applicant’s right.
The judge also dismissed claims that most of the email exhibits annexed by the applicant are online publications.
Justice Tsoho then said, “Having made out this, I hold that the applicant is not entitled to any of the reliefs sought. Consequently, the applicant’s suit is hereby struck out”.
Earlier, while delivering the judgment, the judge had dismissed EFCC objection that Patience suit was an abuse of court process. He said “the suit is not an abuse of court process as Patience Jonathan was not a party in any of three suits in Lagos.”
Patience Jonathan had, in her suit filed by her lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), urged the court to order EFCC to pay her N2 billion as general damages/compensation jointly and severally for the violation of her fundamental rights.
She also wanted the court to declare that her incessant harassment by the EFCC through negative media publications, denigrating and degrading her person as corrupt, without any invitation by the Commission, trial or conviction by a court amounts to a violation of her rights under Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The former first lady also prayed for a declaration that the indiscriminate freezing of her bank accounts and those of her relatives by the EFCC, under the guise of investigation of proceeds of crime, without any invitation or interrogation by the respondent (EFCC) is a violation of her rights to own property and to fair hearing guaranteed under Sections 44 and 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution.
She also prayed for, “A declaration that the invasion, breaking into and ransacking of her family property by the agents of the respondent in the absence of the applicant or any member of her family, while purporting to be executing a search warrant is a violation of the applicant’s fundamental human rights to private and family life guaranteed under the provisions of Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“A declaration that the incessant harassment of the applicant by the respondent on the grounds of her political views expressed by reason of her being a member of the opposition party in Nigeria, is a violation of the applicant’s fundamental human right to freedom from discrimination, guaranteed under Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“An order of court restraining the respondent and its agents from from further violating the applicant’s fundamental rights adumbrated above”.