Thursday, September 15, 2016 7:33 pm
By Akin Kuponiyi
In a bid to recover her of $15.5 million, the wife of the former president of Nigeria, Patience Ibifaka Jonathan, has slammed $200 million suit on Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a suit filed before a Federal high court in Lagos, southwest Nigeria.
Joined in the ensuing legal warfare are Skye bank plc, the former special assistant to the President, Waripama-Owei Emmanuel Dudafa, Pluto Property and Investment company limited, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company limited, Transocean Property and investment company limited and Globus Integrarted Service Limited.
In an affidavit in support of the originating summon sworn to by a legal practitioner, Sammie Somiari, and filed before the court by a Port Harcourt based lawyer, Granville Abibo SAN, the deponent averred that Patience Ibifaka Jonathan, on 22nd of March, 2010, with the assistance of officials of Skye bank, Mr. Demola Bolodeoku and Dipo Oshodi opened five different accounts with the bank, the account opening and mandate forms were duly completed and signed by her.
Subsequently, Mrs. Jonathan discovered that apart from one of the accounts that bore her name, the other four accounts were opened in the name of four companies which are companies belonging to Waparimo-Owei Dudafa. She also observed that the ATM cards of the said accounts were issued in the names of the companies. She complained to Dudafa who promised to effect the necessary changes in the name of the said accounts, consequently, Mr. Dipo Oshodi promised to effect the necessary changes.
Mr. Somiari averred further that Patience Jonathan is not a director, shareholder or participant in these companies. The fund in the said accounts are solely owned and operated by her, Dudafa does not own any part of the funds in the said accounts.
However, the Skye bank official, Dipo Oshodi, did not effect the instructions of the plaintiff to change the name of the said accounts to her name, despite repeated request made by her. Notwithstanding the refusal of the bank to effect the necessary change, she has been using the said ATM cards without any interference.
However, sometimes in July 2016, she discovered that the ATM cards were not functioning, she was surprised at the development and immediately got in touch with Dipo Oshodi, her account officer with Skye Bank who asked her to direct her enquiry to the bank, the bank informed her that a no debit/freezing order had been placed on the accounts. On enquiry, the bank informed her that the accounts were frozen on the directive of EFCC as a result of ongoing investigation in relation to Waparima Dudafa.
She contended that she was never arrested or invited by EFCC prior to the no debit place on the accounts despite several appeal to the bank, the bank has failed and refused to release the said accounts.
The freezing of her funds by Skye bank merely on the directive of EFCC without an order of the court is unlawful. Consequently, Patience Ibifika Jonathan, while demanding for $200 million as damages, is also urging the court not only to declare that the no debit /freezing order is unlawful but to issue an order discharging the no debit order and restraining the EFCC and its agent from further or subsequently placing a no debit /freezing order on the said accounts.
No date has been fixed for hearing.
The author of this story Akin Kuponiyi can be reached at [email protected]