Unfreeze Patience Jonathan’s Accounts – Reps Order Banks
The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions on Tuesday ordered banks to unfreeze accounts belonging to former First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan, without no specific restriction orders from any competent court of law.
This came to fore at the resumed investigative hearing by the committee on the petition by Mrs Jonathan over alleged harassments by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and other government agencies.
The committee’s directive was as a result of discovery that the banks reportedly freezed the accounts based on correspondence from the EFCC to the banks that the accounts were under investigation.
Also during the resumed investigative hearing the committee directed the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, to meet at reconciled alleged tax indebtness levelled against a company owned by the former First Lady.
While appearing before the committee, representative of Granville Abibo (SAN) & Co law firm, Mr Ayodeji Adedipe told the committee that the banks, including Ecobank, Union Bank, First Bank, Diamond and Fidelity Bank froze accounts belonging to Mrs Jonathan, her NGO and even some belonging to her relatives, based on just letters from EFCC, and not court orders as should be the case.
Also, Mr Adedipe informed the committee that Mrs Jonathan’s personal salary account with Ecobank was frozen.
But the legal teams of the various banks told the committee that they would need the list of the accounts purportedly frozen by the banks as claimed by the former first lady’s legal representative.
However, the Chairman of the committee, Hon Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, in his ruling said, “we are not siding anybody, but the committee hereby direct all the banks concerned to defreeze all the accounts that have no specific restraining order from any court, or the EFCC”.
On the petition dealing with FIRS attempt to seal the former President’s company, Aridolf Jo Resort Wellness and SPA Limited on May 3, 2017 over tax indebtedness, the committee directed the FIRS and the management of the company to within 14 days reconcile the books for amicable settlement, and report back the progress.