Court unfreezes Patience Jonathan’s account holding $5.8 million
A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday issued an order unfreezing the Skye Bank account of a former First Lady, Patience Jonathan.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had in November 2016 filed an application before the court, seeking an order freezing the account.
The commission had contended that the funds were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime. The account is said to harbour the sum of $5.8 million.
On Thursday at the resumed hearing of the case, the court issued an order unfreezing the account following an application filed and argued before the court by her lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe, who led a team of lawyers.
Mr. Adedipe, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, had urged the court to unfreeze Mrs. Jonathan’s account on the grounds that she was not a party in the suit leading to the freezing order.
Citing judicial authorities, Mr. Adedipe contended that the suit was an abuse of court process as the court had no jurisdiction to make an order against one who is not a party in a suit filed before the court.
In her ruling, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun upheld the submissions of Mr. Adedipe and consequently, discharged the order freezing the account.
Also affected by the said order are five companies and one Esther Oba said to be having a total sum of N7.4 billion in six different banks.
In a supporting affidavit sworn to by Abdulahi Tukur, an investigating officer of EFCC, he had averred that there was an urgent need for the court to direct a forfeiture of the sum.
He also averred that it was to prevent a dissipation of the funds sought to be forfeited.
Other companies affected by the order are Finchley Top Homes Ltd, Aribawa Aruera, Magel resort Ltd, AM -PM Global Network Ltd, Pansy Oil and Gas Ltd, and Pagmat oil and Gas Ltd.
Finchely Top Homes Ltd was said to have a current account credit balance of about N226 million and a fixed deposit with a balance of N1 billion.
While issuing the interim order, the court had ordered the EFCC to file an undertaking as to damages if the order is found not to have been made.