A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, on Tuesday April 25, granted former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan unfettered access to her $5.9 million in Syke bank.
The ruling is coming after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, withdrew its application seeking the stay of execution of a court order which unfroze the Skye Bank account of Mrs Jonathan.
Appearing before the court which on April 6 unfroze Patience’s account today, counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, disclosed that the commission had changed its mind about appealing the unfreezing order.
Responding, Patience’s attorney, Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe, confirmed being served with the EFCC’s application to withdraw its application for stay of proceedings, adding that he would also withdraw the Form 48 and Form 49 he filed to cite Skye Bank for contempt of court for not allowing Patience access to her account in spite of the court order.
After hearing both parties out, Justice Olatoregun granted their prayers to withdraw their respective applications.
The judgment means Patience Jonathan now has unfettered access to her bank account.
Recall that Justice Olatoregun made an interim order freezing multiple accounts linked with Patience in 2016.
The order was pursuant to an ex parte application by the EFCC, wherein one of its operatives, Abdulahi Tukur, had told the judge that the funds retained in the said accounts were suspected proceeds of crime.
Tukur told Justice Olatoregun then that intelligence report by the EFCC necessitated that the accounts be investigated, adding that it would be in the interest of justice that the accounts be frozen.
The accounts, opened in the names of companies and an individual, had a cumulative balance of N7,418,829,290.94 (N7.4bn) and $429,381.87.
Apart from Patience’s personal account, also affected were five companies, namely: Finchley Top Homes Limited, Aribawa Aruera, Magel Resort Limited, AM-PM Global Network Limited, Pansy Oil and Gas Limited.
Finchley Top Homes Limited’s account numbered 1102001996 in Ecobank, with a balance of N226,376,700.23 and a fixed deposit of N1,099,511,484.88 was frozen.