Tuesday, 19 September 2017

House of Reps order banks to unfreeze Patience Jonathan’s accounts

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions has ordered six commercial banks to unfreeze the accounts of former first lady, Patience Jonathan.

The committee chaired by Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (Abia-PDP), gave the directive on Tuesday in Abuja at a hearing on a petition by Mrs. Jonathan.

Mrs Jonathan had written the House of Representatives alleging that the EFCC was after her for no reason.

The EFCC had alleged that the funds in the accounts were proceeds of corruption.

According to Reps, the freezing was carried out without no specific restriction orders from any competent court of law.

The matter came up at the resumed investigative hearing by the committee on the petition by Jonathan’s wife, over alleged harassments by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other government agencies.

While appearing before the committee, representative of Granville Abibo (SAN) & Co law firm, Mr Ayodeji Adedipe, told the committee that the banks, including Ecobank, Union Bank, First Bank, Diamond and Fidelity Bank froze accounts belonging to Mrs Jonathan, her NGO and even some belonging to her relatives, based on just letters from EFCC and not court orders as should be the case.

Also, Mr Adedipe informed the committee that Mrs Jonathan’s personal salary account with Ecobank was frozen.

The Chairman of the committee, Hon Nkem-Abonta in his ruling said, “we are not siding anybody, but the committee hereby direct all the banks concerned to defreeze all the accounts that have no specific restraining order from any court, or the EFCC.”

 “Until EFCC proves otherwise, I’ll ask you to remove the precautionary restriction on the account. Let me tell you, whatever you’ll do, you must follow the law. A bank can’t hold a legal entity to ransom.
 “I want to order all other banks that all the accounts that have no specific pending order from the courts, please release them,’’ the committee chairman said.

 Ibrahim Magu, the EFCC acting Chairman has up to October 4 to appear before it or have arrest warrant issued against him.

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