A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday, fixed December 7 to hear a suit by ex-first lady, Patience Jonathan, against the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), seeking to unfreeze her account.
Apart from the EFCC, 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 Integrated Service Ltd.
The ex-first lady is demanding $200 million from the commission as damages for infringing on her rights.
She is also urging the court to issue an order discharging the freezing order and restraining the EFCC and its agent from further placing a freezing order on the said accounts.
When the case was called on Wednesday, Rotimi Oyedepo, announced appearance for the EFCC, while Granville Abibo appeared for Mrs. 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.
Consequently, Justice Babs Kuewumi fixed December 7 for hearing.
In an affidavit in support deposed to by Sammie Somiari, a lawyer, he averred 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 averred that the account mandate forms were duly completed and signed by her.
According to him, Mrs. Jonathan subsequently 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 averred that Mrs. 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 deponent, the Skye Bank official (Mr. 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 deponent averred that sometime in July, Mrs. 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.
Consequently, Mrs. Jonathan is seeking an order of court, directing the unfreezing of her account forthwith and also wants an order restraining the EFCC from taking further steps in relation to the said account pending the determination of the suit.