A Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed December 7 to hear a suit by former First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan, against the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), seeking to unfreeze her account.
Aside the anti-graft agency, other respondents are Skye Bank and a former Special Assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Waripama-Owei Dudafa.
Also joined in the suit are Pluto Property and Investment company Ltd, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Ltd, Transocean Property and Investment Company Ltd and Globus Integrarted Service Ltd.
Jonathan is demanding the sum of 200 million dollars from the commission as damages for infringing on her rights.
She is also urging the court to issue an order discharging the freezing of the said accounts.
In the courtroom
When the case was called on Wednesday, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, announced appearance for the EFCC, while Mr Granville Abibo (SAN) appeared for Jonathan.
Addressing the court, Oyedepo informed the judge that the case was coming up for the first time, adding that some of the respondents had yet to be served with the court’s processes.
He said the case was not yet “ripe for hearing”, having been served with the processes on October 19 and is yet to file a response.
His submission was, however, not contested by counsel to the plaintiff.
Later, Justice Babs Kuewumi fixed December 7 for hearing.
In an affidavit
Mr Sammie Somiari, a lawyer, disclosed that on March 22, 2010, she (Jonathan) had opened five different accounts with Skye Bank with the assistance of one Damola Bolodeoku and Dipo Oshodi.
He said that the account mandate forms were duly completed and signed by her.
According to him, Jonathan later discovered that apart from one of the accounts that bore her name, the other four accounts were opened in the name of four companies which were companies belonging to Dudafa.
He said she also observed that the ATM cards of the said accounts were issued in the names of the companies, adding that she complained to Dudafa, who promised to effect the necessary changes.
He said Dipo Oshodi also promised to effect the necessary changes.
Somiari stated that Jonathan is not a director, shareholder or participant in these companies and the funds in the said accounts were solely owned and operated by her.
“Dudafa does not own any part of the funds in the said accounts.”
According to the witness, the Skye Bank official, (Oshodi), did not effect the instructions of the plaintiff to change the name of the said accounts to her name, in spite of repeated request.
He stated that notwithstanding the refusal of the bank to effect the necessary changes, she had been using the said ATM cards without any interference.
The witness stated that sometime in July, Jonathan discovered that the ATM cards were not functioning, and immediately contacted the bank, who informed her that a “No debit/freezing order” had been placed on the accounts.
“On further enquiry, the bank informed her that the accounts were frozen on the directive of EFCC as a result of ongoing investigation in relation to Dudafa.”
Jonathan, therefore, contended that she was never arrested or invited by the EFCC prior to the freezing order placed on the accounts.
She further contends that the freezing order on her funds on the directive of EFCC without an order of the court is unlawful and illegal.