Court freezes Patience Jonathan's N350m again

Court freezes Patience Jonathan's N350m again

- A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the temporary freezing of N350 million allegedly traced to Patience Jonathan

- The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) revealed that the money is lodged in a bank

- The EFCC also linked a company to the alleged money

Patience Jonathan, Nigeria’s immediate past first lady, has another issue to contend with as a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, on Tuesday, November 14, ordered that the N350 million traced to her be frozen temporarily.

The Nation reports that the money is in an account domiciled in Stanbic IBTC, according to a revelation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to the court.

The order was given by Justice Hadiza Rabiu-Shagari in consonance with the EFCC’s ex-parte application filed by its lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo.

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The anti-graft agency argued that the money was allegedly transferred to a company’s account when Patience Jonathan served as a permanent secretary in Bayelsa state between 2012 and 2013.

An investigating officer at the EFCC, Musbahu Yahaya, explained that the EFCC received a cogent, direct and positive intelligence report that a company, AM-PM Global Network Limited, was in possession of proceeds of the unlawful act and retained it in an account.

According to Yahaya, between June 20, 2012 and November 15, 2013, the company fraudulently received N1,206,950,000 via its Diamond Bank account, numbered 0026718889.

The agency described it as “proceeds of unlawful enrichment derived by Mrs Dame Patience Jonathan, who was then a permanent secretary appointed by the Bayelsa state government.”

He added that in a bid to dissipate the funds, the company opened an account numbered 0016971559 with Stanbic IBTC.

“Out of the alleged proceed of unlawful enrichment of Mrs Dame Patience Jonathan, the respondent transferred the total sum of N350 million from its account in Diamond Bank to the account sought to be attached (Stanbic IBTC) in a desperate bid to dissipate the funds.

“We have traced the said N350 million to the respondent’s (AM-PM Global Network’s) account sought to be attached and the order of this court is needed to instruct the bank to attach the account to prevent the dissipation of the funds.

“The respondent is making frantic effort to dissipate these funds,” he said.

The EFCC argued that the company would tamper with the account except its application was granted.

“It will serve the course of justice to grant this application,” the commission said.

In her ruling, Justice Hadiza granted an order directing manager of the Stanbic IBTC Bank to, in the interim, freeze the account pending the determination of the investigation and possible prosecution of this case.

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Dame Jonathan earlier had accounts with $15.5 million frozen by a court presided over by Justice Mohammed Idris. She is praying the court to unfreeze the accounts.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun-Ishola has also frozen Mrs Jonathan’s account with $5.7 million. earlier reported how Patience Jonathan, on Thursday, October 19, temporarily blocked the Federal High Court in Abuja from hearing an ex parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking an order of interim forfeiture of two properties traced to her in Abuja.

Such ex parte applications are heard by courts without the knowledge or participation of the other parties whose properties are at stake.

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