By Lukman Olabiyi
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EfCC), has withdrawn its application seeking to stay the execution of the Federal High Court’s order which unfroze the Skye Bank account of the wife of former president Goodluck Jonathan, Patience with a balance of $5.9million.
EFCC’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo had filed the application seeking for stay of execution on the order to unfreeze the account which was granted on April 6.
But yesterday, Oyedepo informed the court presided by Mojisola Olatoregun that the commission had changed its mind about appealing the unfreezing order.
Mrs. Jonathan’s lawyer, Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe, confirmed being served with the EFCC’s application to withdraw its application for stay of proceedings.
Adedipe said in view of the EFCC’s action, he would also withdraw the Form 48 and Form 49 he filed to cite Skye Bank for contempt of court for not allowing Patience access to her account in spite of the court order.
After hearing both parties out, Justice Olatoregun granted their prayers to withdraw their respective applications. With the development, the former first lady now has unfettered access to her bank account.
At the instance of the EFCC last year, Justice Olatoregun had made an interim order freezing multiple accounts linked with Patience. The order was pursuant to an ex parte application by the anti-graft agency, wherein one of its operatives, Abdulahi Tukur, had told the judge that the funds retained in the said accounts were suspected proceeds of crime.
Tukur had told the judge that intelligence report by the anti-graft agency necessitated that the accounts be investigated, adding that it would be in the interest of justice that the accounts be frozen.
The accounts, opened in the names of companies and an individual, had a cumulative balance of N7,418,829,290.94 (N7.4bn) and $429,381.87.
Apart from Patience’s personal account, also affected were five companies, namely: Finchley Top Homes Limited, Aribawa Aruera, Magel Resort Limited, AM-PM Global Network Limited, Pansy Oil and Gas Limited.
Finchley Top Homes Limited’s account numbered 1102001996 in Ecobank, with a balance of N226,376,700.23 and a fixed deposit of N1,099,511,484.88 was frozen.
Similarly affected were the company’s Skye Bank account numbered 1771731336, with a balance of N14,173,848.85; Fidelity Bank account numbered, 4011019539 with a balance of N1,800,494,000; Stanbic Bank account numbered, 0016901361, with a balance of N40,594,12.88 and Diamond Bank account 0019213687 with a balance of N39,418,712.12.
Aribawa Aruera Reachout Foundation opened account number 1222014221 with Ecobank and has a closing balance of N479,893,431.01…
while Magel Resort Limited accounts .(4011019546/5250059782) with Fidelity Bank has a subsisting balance of N1,000,494,000.
The company also operates a Zenith Bank account numbered, 1011744356, which has a balance of N858,923,982, and a Diamond Bank account numbered 0024351590 with had a balance of N174,166,207.00.
AM-PM Global Network Limited opened account number 0026718889 at Diamond Bank and has a balance of N7,213,303.50.
The account numbered 4011019577 opened by Pansy Oil and Gas Limited at Fidelity Bank had a balance of N1,809,666,494.68, while the company’s account in Diamond Bank has a balance of N55,930,024.50.
Also affected was one Esther Oba. Oba has a balance of $429,381.87 in her account.
The coast is now clear for the former first lady of Nigeria, Mrs. Patience Ibifaka Jonathan, to access her account with Skye Bank Plc, where she housed $5. 842, 316. 66M.