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Former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Ibifaka Jonathan, yesterday instituted a $200 million suit against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at a Federal High Court in Lagos.
This followed an admission of money laundering by four firms, which she claims the anti-graft agency had used to inconvenience and embarrass her.
Mentioned as defendants in the action are Skye Bank, Waripama-Owei Emmanuel Dudafa, former Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to her husband and erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan, Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Limited, Transocean Property and Investment Company Limited and Globus Integrated Service Limited.
No date has, however, been fixed for hearing.
In an affidavit in support of the originating summon sworn to by a legal practitioner, Sammie Somiari, and filed before the court by a Port Harcourt-based lawyer, Granville Abibo (SAN), the deponent averred that Mrs. Jonathan, on March 22, 2010 with the assistance of officials of the bank, Mr. Damola Bolodeoku and Dipo Oshodi, validly opened five different accounts with the financial institution.
But surprisingly, Mrs. Jonathan discovered that apart from one of the accounts that bore her name, the rest four carried names of four companies belonging Dudafa.
She also reportedly observed that the ATM cards of the said accounts were issued in the names of the companies, a development that allegedly necessitated her contacting Dudafa who purportedly promised to effect the necessary changes through the concerned bank official, Oshodi.
Somiari also claimed that Mrs. Jonathan was not a director, shareholder or participant in the companies, maintaining that the funds in the said accounts were entirely hers.
The defiance notwithstanding, the deponent added that Mrs. Jonathan kept using the cards until sometimes in July this year when she discovered that the facilities were no longer functioning and had to contact her account officer who instructed she lodges formal complaint for the bank to lift the freezing order placed on them.
On enquiry, the deponent said she was informed that the accounts had been frozen on the directive of EFCC following investigation of Dudafa.
Mrs. Jonathan contended that she was neither arrested nor invited by the anti-graft agency prior to the embargo and that several appeals to have the order reversed fell on deaf ears.
She argued that the action by the bank without an order of the court was unlawful.
Therefore, apart from her demand for $200 million as damages, she is also urging the court not only to declare that the no debit and freezing order is unlawful but to issue an order discharging it and restraining the EFCC and its agent from further or subsequently placing a no debit/freezing order on the said accounts.