POLITICS

Court freezes N9bn in fresh accounts linked with Patience Jonathan

Court freezes N9bn in fresh accounts linked with Patience Jonathan

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun-Ishola has granted an order freezing bank accounts allegedly belonging to wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, with over N9 billion lodged in them.

One of the accounts, domiciled with Skye Bank Plc and said to be in Mrs Jonathan’s name, has a balance of $5,316.66 (about N1,670,760.30).

The accounts of five companies and one Esther Oba were also frozen along with a Mrs Jonathan’s.

The companies were linked with Mrs Jonathan, a highly placed source said.

The companies’ accounts are said to have balances amounting to N7.4 billion; Oba’s is said to have $429,381.87.

The money is in six commercial banks, according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

A reliable source from the commission yesterday confirmed the freezing of the accounts.

“Yes, it is true that another account belonging to Mrs Jonathan was frozen as well as that of some companies. The order was made sometime in late November,” the source said.

Asked if the companies were linked with a Mrs Jonathan, he said: “Fraudulent activities were discovered in the companies’ accounts. Some of them had her (Mrs Jonathan’s signature) without her picture.”

Justice Olatoregun-Ishola was said to have made the ex-parte order following an ex-parte application and a supporting affidavit sworn to by an EFCC operative Abdulahi Tukur.

The companies are Finchley Top Homes Limited, Aribawa Aruera Reachout Foundation, Magel Resort Limited, AM-PM Global Network Limited Pansy Oil and Gas Limited.

Finchley Top Homes is alleged to have fraudulently opened an account with no. 1102001996 domiciled with Ecobank Plc with N226,376,700.23 and a fixed deposit of N1,099,511,484.88.

The company is also alleged to have fraudulently opened other accounts with Skye Bank with a balance of N14,173,848.85; Fidelity Bank, with a balance of N1,800,494,000; Stanbic IBTC Bank account with a current balance of N40,594,12.88; and Diamond Bank with a current balance of N39,418,712.12.

The Foundation is alleged to have opened an account numbered 1222014221 with Ecobank and has a balance of N479,893,431.01.

Magel Resort’s accounts, numbered 4011019546 and 5250059782, domiciled with Fidelity Bank has a balance of N1,000,494,000.

The company also operates other accounts numbered 1011744356 with Zenith Bank with a balance of N858,923,982, and another one numbered 0024351590 with Diamond Bank with a balance of N174,166,207.00.

AM-PM Global Network was said to have opened account numbered 0026718889 at Diamond Bank and with a balance of N7,213,303.50.

Pansy Oil and Gas’ account with Fidelity Bank is numbered 4011019577 with a balance of N1,809,666,494.68, while that at Diamond Bank (0026838491) has a balance of N55,930,024.50.

All the monies, EFCC said, are suspected to be proceeds of crime.

Justice Olatoregun-Ishola reportedly ordered EFCC to file an undertaking as to damages payable by it if it turns out that the order should not have been made.

It is not the first time accounts allegedly belonging to Mrs Jonathan would be frozen.

Justice Mohammed Idris had also ordered the siezure of N$15.5million allegedly belonging to Mrs Jonathan.

Mrs Jonathan said four of her frozen accounts with Skye Bank in the name of four companies have a balance of $15, 591,700 (about N5billion) belonging to her.

But, the companies had, on September 15, pleaded guilty to laundering the money when they were arraigned before Justice Babs Kuewumi.

The judge, however, refused to order the money’s forfeiture to the Federal Government until the trial of the others named in the charge was concluded.

The companies are: Pluto Property and Investment Company Ltd (represented by Friday Davis), Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Ltd (represented by Agbor Baro), Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Ltd (represented by Dioghowori Frederick) and Avalon Global Property Development Ltd (represented by Taiwo Ebenezer).

EFCC arraigned them along with a former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to President Jonathan, Waripamo Dudafa, a lawyer Amajuoyi Briggs and a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku. Dudafa, Briggs and Bolodeoku had pleaded not guilty to the 17-count charge.

Mrs Jonathan, in a separate suit against EFCC and Skye Bank, before Justice Idris, is seeking an order de-freezing the accounts and releasing her money.

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