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Patience Jonathan's $5.8m: EFCC Appeals 'Unfreeze' Order As Osinbajo Absolves FG Of Blame

April 12, 2017

The Federal High Court in Lagos last Thursday directed that the freeze order on the account be cancelled. The account is believed to contain about $5.8 million (about N1.8 billion).

The anti-graft EFCC has appealed a court order to unfreeze a Skye Bank account belonging to the former first lady, Patience Jonathan.

An official of the anti-graft agency confirmed this to PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday.

“We have appealed the order,” Wilson Uwujaren, said in a telephone interview.

The Federal High Court in Lagos last Thursday directed that the freeze order on the account be cancelled. The account is believed to contain about $5.8 million (about N1.8 billion).

The EFCC had in November 2016 filed an application before the court, seeking an order freezing the account.

The commission had contended that the funds were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime. The court granted the order but reversed it last Thursday.

However, when Mrs. Jonathan visited the Skye Bank, Maitama, Abuja branch on Monday, she was reportedly told she could not access the funds.

Mr. Uwujaren said the EFCC “served a notice of stay” of execution of the order on Skye Bank, a factor that could have made the bank not allow Mrs. Jonathan have access to the funds.

Earlier on Tuesday night, at an interview with journalists and activists, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo absolved the federal government of any role in the case.

Mr. Osinbajo advised Mrs. Jonathan to file a contempt charge against the bank if she feels aggrieved.

Skye Bank is yet to react to the court order and its actions on it. The bank on Wednesday promised to respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ email and telephone enquiries on the subject as soon as possible.

Mrs. Jonathan has been having a running battle with the EFCC over her claim of millions of dollars the anti-graft agency believes are proceeds of crimes.

The former first lady claims the moneys are legitimate sums she made including as gifts over several years, and has accused the anti-graft agency of persecution. She last year sued the EFCC demanding $200 million after the commission froze accounts of three companies containing about $15.5 million dollars. Mrs. Jonathan said the money was hers and the accounts were wrongly opened in the names of the companies. She has however, not provided details of how she earned such huge sums despite not being involved in any known major business.