Dame Patience Jonathan, wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to jail the Managing Directors/Chief Executive Officers of three banks for refusing to lift the restrictions placed on her accounts at the instance of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Those affected in committal proceedings initiated by Patience and 10 others are the MDs/CEOs of First Bank Plc, Skye Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc, Mr. Adesola Adeduntan, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru and Mr. Uzoma Dozie, respectively.
Punch reports that the MDs of the three banks have denied the allegations of disobedience of the December 5, 2017 order of the court levelled against them.
First bank MD Adeduntan stated that after unfreezing Mrs Jonathan’s accounts pursuant to a court order, the bank’s management decided to close the said account and informed her to supply the details of an account into which the balance in her First Bank account could be transferred.
He stated that rather than send the details of an account, Patience requested that she be paid in cash.
According to him, the bank considered her demand for cash payment as a request for assisting her to violate the provisions of the money laundering laws and banking regulations in Nigeria.
But he said despite writing Patience about the impossibility of the bank meeting her request, the wife of the former President insisted on getting her balance in cash.
He stated, “In line with the bank’s letter of December 21, 2017, upon the failure of the 11th judgment creditor/respondent and her counsel respectively to provide any account details in her name to transfer the funds in her unfrozen account, the bank, on January 17, 2018, issued in her name a bank cheque number 014602 in the sum of $3,626,273.71 (three million, six hundred and twenty-six thousand, two hundred and seventy-three dollars, seventy one cents only) representing the total balance in her account with the bank, less applicable charges.
“Further to the above, the bank also informed the 11th judgment creditor/respondent and her counsel respectively vide letters dated January 17, 2018, to visit a designated office of the bank in Abuja to pick the cheque.”
Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja had on May 30, 2017 frozen a total of 16 accounts following an application by the EFCC alleging that huge sums of money in foreign currencies suspected to be proceeds of crimes were kept in the accounts.
Following an application by Patience Jonathan and others challenging the freezing order, the court, on December 5, 2017, unfroze the accounts and lifted all the restrictions placed on them.
However, Patience and other 10 applicants alleged that the three banks had refused to comply with the court order unfreezing their accounts.