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Court Fixes December 7 For Jonathan’s Hearing



Former First Lady, Patience Jonathan
Former First Lady, Patience Jonathan

The suit filed by former first lady Patience Jonathan against the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, has been fixed for hearing on December 7.

The wife of former-President Goodluck Jonathan is suing the EFCC over the freezing of some accounts which the former first lady said belongs to her.

Included as respondents in the case are: Skye Bank plc, former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Waripama-Owei Dudafa, as well as four companies, namely: Pluto Property and Investment company Ltd, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Ltd, Transocean Property and Investment Company Ltd and Globus Integrated Service Ltd.

Jonathan is also asking for the sum of $200 million from the EFCC as damages for infringing on her rights.

She is also urging the court to issue an order discharging the freezing order and restrain the EFCC and its agent from further placing a freezing order on the said accounts.

As the case was mentioned on Wednesday, Rotimi Oyedepo, announced appearance for the EFCC, while Granville Abibo, SAN, appeared for Jonathan.

Addressing the court, Oyedepo informed the judge that the case was coming up for the first time, and was not yet “ripe for hearing”.

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He argued that the court processes was served on him on October 19 and he is yet to study it well in order to be able to file an appropriate response.

His submission was, however, not contested by counsel to the plaintiff.

Consequently, Justice Babs Kuewumi fixed Dec. 7 for hearing.

An affidavit deposed to by one Sammie Somiari, a lawyer, to support the former first lady’s claims, stated that on March 22, 2010,  Jonathan had opened five different accounts with Skye Bank with the assistance of one Damola Bolodeoku and Dipo Oshodi.

Somiari stated that the account mandate forms were duly completed and signed by her.

According to him, the former first lady 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.

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He said Dipo Oshodi also promised to effect the necessary changes.

Somiari also stated 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 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.

Somiari further stated that sometime in July, Jonathan discovered that the ATM cards were not functioning, as a result of a “No debit/freezing order” that was 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.”

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The former first lady said she has never been arrested or even invited by the EFCC prior to the freezing order placed on the accounts, an action she described as illegal.

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