Alleged Money Laundering: Court Freezes Patience Jonathan’s Accounts In Five Banks

Alleged Money Laundering: Court Freezes Patience Jonathan's Accounts In Five BanksA Federal High Court in Lagos has frozen multiple accounts in five Nigerian banks allegedly belonging to former first lady, Patience Jonathan over allegations of money laundering.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun made the order freezing the accounts after listening to an exparte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), sometime in November.

The order, according to the Commission, covers Mrs. Jonathan’s accounts in Ecobank Plc, Skye Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Diamond Bank Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc.

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 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.

It requested the court to urgently direct the managers of the bank accounts to, in the interim, forfeit the money in the accounts, to prevent further tampering with same.

After issuing the order, Justice Olatoregun directed the anti-graft agency to enter into an undertaking to pay damages to the former first lady if it turns out that the order should not have been made.

One of the account, domiciled with Skye Bank plc, is said to have a balance of $5,316.66.

Also affected by the order are five companies namely; Finchley Top Homes Limited, Aribawa Aruera, Magel Resort Limited, AM-PM Global Network Limited and Pansy Oil and Gas Limited.

Also affected is one Esther Oba who is said to have a balance of $429,381.87 in her Diamond Bank account while the companies collectively have a balance totaling N7,418,829,290.94 (Seven billion four hundred and eighteen million eight hundred and twenty nine thousand two hundred and ninety naira ninety four kobo).

N179 Million Fraud: Former Ecobank Manager, Husband Arraigned For Theft

A Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere, Lagos Island, has fixed May 21 for ruling in the bail application filed by a former Ecobank Plc Customer Service Manager, Mrs Tosin Lawal and her husband, Michael, accused of defrauding the bank of the sum of N179.8million.

The defendants were today arraigned on an eleven-count charge bordering on conspiracy and theft before the court presided over by Justice Christopher Balogun.

They both pleaded not guilty.

The duo were accused by the State of having conspired to defraud Ecobank Nigeria Plc of the sum through fraudulent sales of foreign currency.

According to the charges, the offence contravenes Sections 390 and 516 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State, 2003.

It would be recalled that the couple were arraigned in January 24, 2012  before Justice Samuel Candide-Johnson of the same court, who granted the second defendant bail in the sum of N5million before the case was transferred to the present Judge.

When the matter came up for hearing on Thursday, the prosecuting lawyer, Ola Owodunni informed the judge that the bail application of the second defendant will be left unopposed but urged the court not to grant the first defendant bail.

According to the lawyer, “A counter affidavit has been filed in response to the bail application for the first defendant which explains that the couple are a flight risk and should not be granted bail.

“Another fact I want the court to take into consideration is that they were arrested at the Muritala Muhammed International Airport at 9.00 p.m while trying to escape from the country.”

The prosecuting further submitted that the second defendant already enjoys the discretion of the court having already been granted bail at the first arraignment by Justice Candide-Johnson

He stressed that extending the same privilege to the first defendant bail might lead to their absence for trial.

However, the defence lawyer Mr Oyedipo has assured the court that the defendants would not abscond over a mere case of stealing if granted bail.

“The police had initially granted the defendants bail four months before their arraignment and they did not jump bail so i see no reason why they should be considered a flight risk now.

“It is not peculiar for any applicant to consider running away if granted bail but what the court does is to impose terms to ensure that applicants turn up for trial,” Oyedipo added.

He also submitted that the premises and conclusions of the counter affidavit opposing the bail application is faulty and urged the court to exercise its discretion in favour of the first defendant.