Court Unfreezes 16 Accounts Belonging To Patience Jonathan
The Federal High Court in Abuja has reversed its order made on May 30, to freeze 16 accounts belonging to the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience.
Justice Binta Nyako withdrew the order on Tuesday on the grounds that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which secured the freezing order, failed to conduct a proper investigation into the case.
The court’s decision followed a move by the counsel to Mrs Jonathan, Mr Mike Ozekhome who asked the court to set aside an ex-parte order filed by the anti-graft agency.
Mr Ozekhome who confirmed this to Channels Television said that the court had ordered the EFCC to conduct its investigation within 90 days of freezing the accounts but that the commission failed to carry out the said investigation within the given period.
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The accounts containing over $5 million had been frozen as the money was considered “proceeds of crime” by the EFCC.
The anti-graft agency said that the move to request the freezing of the accounts became necessary after it received intelligence report, which showed that the accounts ought to be investigated.
The ex-parte application to freeze the accounts at the time was supported by an originating summons sworn to by one Abdulahi Tukur, an operative of EFCC, and filed before the court by the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo.
Prior to the court’s decision on Tuesday, there had been attempts by the former President’s wife to unfreeze the accounts and prevent the forfeiture of the monies therein to the federal government.
On October 5, Mrs Jonathan filed a N2 billion rights enforcement suit against the commission.
She accused the EFCC of violating her fundamental rights and demanded the said sum as compensation for general damages.
In the suit, she said that the EFCC had incessantly harassed her through negative media publications.
Mrs Jonathan further stated that such action degrading her person, as it resulted in her being branded as corrupt, without any invitation, trial or conviction by a court.