Lagos – A Lagos Court of Appeal in Lagos on Friday dismissed an appeal filed by wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience over the temporary forfeiture of her $5.7million.
In a verdict delivered by Justice Mojeed Owoade, the Court of Appeal held that the appeals lacked merit and upheld the constitutionality of Section 17 of the Advance Fee fraud Act, which empowers the EFCC to apply for the forfeiture to the Federal Government of property reasonably suspected to be proceed of unlawful activity.
He said the section was not at variance with Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution which guarantees fair hearing , adding that Section 135 of the Evidence Act shifted the responsibility of proving how Mrs. Jonathan got the money to her.
“The section merely shifts the evidential burden of proof on to the appellant to disprove the facts raised by the respondent in its motion on notice for final forfeiture of the funds.
“To that extent, the provisions of Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud are neither in conflict with Section 135 (1) of the Evidence Act 2011 nor with Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution.
“There is nothing unusual or unconstitutional in the Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act.
“The respondent placed sufficient materials before the court below to justify the grant of the ex-parte application.
“Having resolved the two issues in this appeal against the appellant, the appeal lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed. I make no order as to cost,” Justice Owoade held.
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Author: Mohammed Shosanya