Former First Lady, Patience Jonathan, has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja, to commit the Chief Executive Officers of three major banks, First Bank, Skye Bank and Diamond Bank, to prison for failing to lift embargo on her accounts despite court order.
According to her, for the banks’ persistent refusal to obey the order of the court that lifted the embargo placed on the various bank accounts traced to her and family members, Mrs Jonathan wants the banks’ CEOs to be imprisoned.
In her filed a motion on notice, brought pursuant to order3, rule 1 of the Federal High Court, through her counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), she is seeking court order to compel the banks’ CEOs to prison for deliberately refusing to comply with court order that embargo placed on the 16 bank accounts be lifted since December last year.
Mrs. Jonathan and other applicants in the motion on notice claimed that all efforts to make transaction in the three banks in compliance with the December 5, 2017 order of the court unfreezing the accounts were resisted by the Chief Executive Officers of the three banks.
Unpon enquiry on why transactions were not allowed in the bank accounts in compliance with court order, Mrs. Jonathan and other applicants were said to have been told that the EFCC had filed exparte originating summon praying for the forfeiture of all monies in the accounts.
The former First Lady therefore prayed the court to jail the three bank Chiefs, for acting in violation of the court order which unfreezed the accounts for transactions, because there was no renewal order or extension of the embargo earlier placed on the bank accounts.
In the motion dated December 7, 2017, the ex-First Lady, is also seeking for order of the court striking out a purported ‘ex parte originating summon’ filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), praying for forfeiture of all funds in the various bank accounts in the three banks to the Federal government.
Jonathan said that the purported ex parte originating summon constituted a gross abuse of court process and an attempt to undermine the earlier order of the court made in December last year de-freezing the bank accounts.
Already, forms 48 & 49 which are legal process of initiating the imprisonment for flouting of court order have been served on the three banks’ CEOs. They include, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of First Bank, Tokunbo Abiru, CEO Skye Bank and Uzoma Dozie, MD/CEO, Diamond Bank.
In a 20 paragraph affidavit in support of the motion, it was averred that the EFCC had on May 30, 2017, obtained an exparte order granted by Justice Binta Nyako, freezing all bank accounts traced to Mrs. Jonathan, her families and business interest.
The order made in respect of FHC/ABJ/CS/821/2016 was however to last for 90 days when the anti-graft agency was expected to have completed all investigations in respect of the bank accounts.
The affidavit deposed to by one Chinedu Maduba, a legal practitioner in the law firm of G.I. Abibo indicated that the order placed on the bank accounts through the EFCC exparte motion was vacated on December 5, 2017, when the 90 day life span of the exparte order expired and vacated by the same Justice Nyako, which was neither renewed nor extended.
When the matter came up, it was discovered that the EFCC was not in court because it has just been served with court process which may require it time to respond.
Although counsel to the three bank chiefs were in court, Justice Nyako, however adjourned till April 11, to enable EFCC respond to issues raised in the motion and as well appear in court.