The Federal High Court in Lagos, on Thursday, September 28, 2017 fixed November 2 for hearing in the N200 million fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by Patience Jonathan, a former first lady of Nigeria, against Skye Bank Plc.
Mrs. Jonathan filed the suit in protest against the ‘No Debit Order’ placed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the bank accounts of the four companies domiciled in Skye Bank.
The four companies were said to have a total of $15.5 million in their bank accounts, which the EFCC had frozen sometime in July 2016.
The EFCC froze the accounts while investigating former special adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on domestic affairs, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa for money laundering.
But, Mrs. Jonathan claimed that the funds in the companies’ accounts belonged to her though she was not a signatory to any of the accounts.
Other defendants joined in the suit are the EFCC and the four firms linked to Mr. Dudafa.
They are Pluto Property and Investment Company Ltd; Seagate Property Development and Investment Co. Ltd; Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Ltd; and Globus Integrated Service Ltd.
In an affidavit filed in support of the suit, which was sworn by one Sammie Somiari, deposed that Mrs. Jonathan had asked Mr. Dudafa to help her open five bank accounts.
Mr. Somiari averred that Mr. Dudafa opened only one account in Mrs. Jonathan’s name and four others in the names of the four companies linked to him.
According to Mr. Somiari, Mr. Dudafa had on March 22, 2010 brought two Skye Bank officers, Demola Bolodeoku and Dipo Oshodi, to meet Mrs. Jonathan at home to open the five accounts.
He, however, claimed that after the five accounts were opened, Mrs. Jonathan later discovered that Mr. Dudafa opened only one of the accounts in her name.
Mr. Somiari added that the applicant (Mrs. Jonathan) complained to Mr. Dudafa and the bank officials, who promised to change the accounts to the applicant’s name but did not do so.
According to the affidavit, “the applicant is not a director, shareholder or participant in the companies named in the aforementioned four accounts.
“Besides, the ATM credit cards bearing the said companies’ names were given to the applicant by the bank official, Mr. Oshodi, who promised to replace the cards but he never did.
“However, from 2010 until 2014 and thereafter, the applicant used the cards and operated the said accounts without any hindrance.
“Even when the applicant travelled overseas for medical treatment sometime in 2016, she used the cards till they stopped functioning,” Somiari said.
In the suit, filed before Justice Mohammed Idris, Mrs. Jonathan, through her lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe, is seeking N200 million damages against Skye Bank for denying her access to the $15.5 million in the four accounts.
She also asked the court to lift the ‘No Debit Order’ placed on the accounts by the EFCC.
Mrs. Jonathan has repeatedly claimed she is being targeted for victimisation by the federal government and even got a federal lawmaker to raise a motion in the House of Representatives asking security agencies not to victimise her.