By Lukman Olabiyi
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has unfreeze former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, account containing $5.8 million domiciled with Skye Bank Plc.
The account, which is a personal account of the former first lady, was frozen last year, along others multiple bank accounts allegedly linked to her.
The court, however, unfreeze the personal account of Mrs Jonathan following an application filed and argued before the court by her lawyer, Mr. Adedayo Adedipe( SAN).
Mrs Jonathan’s counsel, urged the court to unfreeze the account on the ground that his client was not a party in the suit leading to the order by the court freezing her account.
Adedipe cited many judicial authorities and contended that the court has no jurisdiction to make an order against a party that was not before the court.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which initiated the suit leading to freezing of the account did not file any response to discharge the order.
In her ruling the presiding judge, Olatoregun granted prayer of Adedipe and discharged the order freezing the account.
The order freezing Mrs Jonathan’s account also affected five companies and one Esther Oba.
The five companies are Finchley Top Homes Limited, Aribawa Aruera, Magel resort Limited, AM -PM Global network Limited Pansy Oil and Gas Limited.
Meanwhile, Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos will on May 8, decide the fate of Mrs Jonathan, over an application she filed to challenge the freezing of her account containing $15.5 million by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The judge fixed the date after entertaining arguments from parties in the matter.
The former first lady, in the fundamental rights enforcement suit, is seeking an order to unfreeze the accounts where the money is domiciled at Skye Bank plc, so she can have access to it.
Respondents in the suit are; the EFCC, Skye Bank, Dudafa and four companies.
The companies are: Pluto Property and Investment Company Ltd, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Ltd, Transocean Property and Investment Company Ltd and Globus Integrated Service Ltd.
In his arguments, Jonathan’s lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) berated the EFCC for placing a no debit order on the account of his client without any court’s order contrary to Section 34 of the EFCC Act.
“EFCC froze Mrs Jonathan’s account before securing a court’s order even when she had complained that the money in the account belongs to her,” he said.
He urged the court to grant his client’s application by unfreezing her account.
In his reaction, EFCC’S lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, said the plaintiff has no locus to contest the fund in dispute.
He said the EFCC is empowered by law to freeze an account without securing court’s order for, at least, 72 hours.
He urged the court to dismiss the application.