The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday withdrew a motion before a Federal High Court Lagos for stay of execution of a judgment which unfroze the account of a former first lady, Patience Jonathan.
The Skye Bank account is believed to contain about $5.8 million.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun had on April 6 ordered that the account be unfrozen after Mrs. Jonathan’s lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe, challenged the propriety of EFCC’s action.
He challenged the commission for joining her in a suit, which he said, she was not a party to, and urged the court to unfreeze Mrs. Jonathan’s account.
Dissatisfied with the unfreezing order, EFCC had filed an application for a stay of execution of the order as well as 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 of the case on Tuesday, Mr. Oyedepo informed the court of his agency’s intention to withdraw the two applications.
He did not give reasons for the withdrawal.
Following the withdrawal of the applications, Mr. Adedipe confirmed 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 Skye Bank in anticipation of a failure to obey the order of the court.
After the submissions of both counsel, Mrs. Olatoregun granted the withdrawal of both the EFCC’s two applications and Patience Jonathan’s Form 48 and Form 49 respectively.
Mrs. Olatoregun had in 2016 following the application of EFCC, ordered that the account of the former first lady which housed about $5.8 million be frozen on the grounds that the money was suspected to be proceeds of a crime.
Also affected by the order were five liability companies harbouring a total sum of N7.4 billion.
The five companies are Finchley Top Homes Ltd, Aribawa Aruera, Magel Resort Ltd, AM -PM Global Network Ltd, Pansy Oil and Gas Ltd.
Also, affected was an account belonging to one Esther Oba having the sum of $429,000.
The freezing order was sequel to a further and better affidavit in support of an ex-parte originating summons deposed to by Abdulahi Tukur, an investigating officer of the EFCC.
Mr. Tukur had averred that there was urgent need for the court to direct the managers of the bank accounts contained in the schedule to in the interim forfeit the money contained to prevent further dissipation.
While granting the freezing order, the judge had ordered the anti-graft agency to file an undertaking as to damages if it turned out that the order should not have been made.
With the withdrawal of the application and the notice of appeal by the EFCC, the coast now appears clear for Mrs. Jonathan to have access to the funds.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how Skye Bank refused to release the money to the former first lady despite the court order. The bank said its action was because the EFCC had notified it of the commission’s application and notice of appeal.
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