SAN FRANCISCO, December 06, (THEWILL) – Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has lifted an order made on May 30, freezing 16 bank accounts linked to Patience Jonathan, wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Patience and 10 companies linked to her had filed an application to challenge an ex-parte interim freezing order earlier obtained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Five of the accounts are domiciled in Skye Bank Plc, seven are in Diamond Bank Plc, while the remaining accounts are with Union Bank Plc, First Bank Plc, Ecobank and Zenith Bank Plc.
Listed as applicants with her in the application are the Incorporated Trustees of Ariwabai Aruera Reachout Foundation, Pagmat Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited, Flinchley Top Homes Limited, Incorporated Trustees of Women for Change and Development Initiative Nigeria, Transocean Property and Investment Ltd, Seagate Property Development Investment Company, Globus Integrated Services and Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited.
Patience and the firms admitted their ownership of the 16 bank accounts but insisted that the anti-graft agency obtained the forfeiture order by an improper use of the judicial process saying that the said interim forfeiture order, including a subsequent one that was issued on October 18, had since expired.
They alleged that EFCC suppressed the fact that it had earlier approached the Lagos Division of court for the same relief it applied for and secured from the court in Abuja.
In his ruling, Justice Nyako ordered the lifting of the freezing order that barred Patience and 10 organizations linked to her from accessing the accounts containing aggregate sums of $5.8million and N3.5billion.
Justice Nyako upheld the applicants’ arguments that the interim forfeiture order had elapsed and could not be renewed by the EFCC.