Nigeria’s Former First Lady Receives Clearance to Operate Account

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By: Davidson Iriekpen

The coast is now clear for the former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, to access her $5.84million in Skye Bank.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun had on April 6, 2017, unfrozen the account after Mrs. Jonathan’s lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), challenged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for joining her in a suit that she was not a party to, and urged the court to unfreeze his client’s account.

Not satisfied with the order, the EFCC filed an application for stay of execution of the order and a notice of appeal challenging the judgment.

The two applications, according to EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, were dated April 6 and filed on April 7. At the resumed hearing Tuesday, Oyedepo informed the judge of his agency’s intention to discontinue the two applications. He however did not give any reason for the discontinuance.

Upon the withdrawal of the two applications, lawyer to Mrs. Jonathan confirmed the service of the application for withdrawal on the defendants. He equally informed the court of his intention to withdraw Form 48 (notice of committal to prison) and Form 49 (committal to prison), which he said was filed against the Skye Bank in anticipation that if it failed to obey the order unfreezing Jonathan’s account.

Upon the submissions of both counsel, Justice Olatoregun granted the withdrawal of both the EFCC’s two applications, and Mrs. Jonathan’s Form 48 and Form 49.

It would be recalled that based on an application filed before the court by EFCC in 2016, Justice Olatoregun had ordered that the account of the former first lady’s ($5,842,316.66) domicile with Skye bank Plc. be frozen on the grounds that the money was suspected to be proceeds of crime.

Also affected by the said order were five limited liability companies that were having a total sum of N7,418,829,290.94 and an account belonging to one Esther Oba with sum of $429,381.87.

The companies are: Finchley Top Homes Limited, Aribawa Aruera, Magel Resort Limited, AM-PM Global Network Limited and Pansy Oil and Gas Limited.

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