Ex-First Lady Slams $200m Suit Against EFCC

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Former first lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan has slammed a $200
million suit against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

She is asking the court to mandate the anti-graft agency to
pay her the sum as damages for freezing her accounts containing $15,000, an
action she claimed infringed on her rights.
She is also seeking an order of court, directing the
unfreezing of her account and another order restraining the EFCC from taking
further steps in relation to the said account pending the determination of the
suit.
Justice Babs Kuewumi fixed December 7 for hearing.
The EFCC had on September 22 ordered the freezing of some
bank accounts belonging to her.
The Commission said the action was due to the ongoing
investigation into the alleged money laundering charge preferred against her.
When the matter came up for mention, yesterday, women
numbering over 100, invaded the premises of the Federal High Court, Lagos, to
protest the freezing order placed on the bank accounts of the ex-first lady.
Joined in the suit are 
Skye Bank, a former Special Assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan,
Waripama-Owei Dudafa, Pluto Property and Investment company Ltd, Seagate
Property Development and Investment Company Ltd, Transocean Property and
Investment Company Ltd and Globus Integrated Service Ltd.
When the case was called, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, announced
appearance for the EFCC, while Mr Granville Abibo appeared for Jonathan.
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. He asked for time to enable him file a
response.
His submission was, however, not contested by counsel to the
plaintiff.
Immediately, the court rose, 
the  women carrying placards
swooned toward a vehicle belonging to the EFCC, chanting solidarity songs in
Ijaw and English languages.
Some of the inscriptions read: “Ijaw people are in
solidarity with Jonathan”, “Unfreeze ex-President Jonathan’s wife’s account”,
“We urge EFCC to abide by the rule of law”, “Women must be heard.”
In an affidavit in support deposed to by Mr Sammie Somiari,
a lawyer, he averred that on March 22, 2010, 
Mr.s Jonathan had opened five different accounts with Skye Bank with the
assistance of one Damola Bolodeoku and Dipo Oshodi.
According to him, Jonathan who duly completed and signed the
mandate forms 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
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 averred that Jonathan was not a director,
shareholder or participant in the 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 deponent, the Skye Bank official, (Oshodi),
did not effect the instructions of the plaintiff to change the name of the said
accounts to her name, despite repeated request.
He stated notwithstanding the refusal of the bank to effect
the necessary changes, Jonaathan had been using the said ATM cards without any
interference.
The deponent averred 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.

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