Former first lady, Patience Jonathan has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to commit the Chief Executive Officers of three banks to prison over the order de-freezing her foundation’s accounts with the banks. Mrs Jonathan through her counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) filed Forms 48 and 49 Committal Proceedings against Adesola Adeduntan (CEO of First Bank) Tokunbo Abiru (CEO Skye Bank) and Uzoma Dozie (CEO, Diamond Bank) following failure of the banks to obey order of the court made on December 5, 2017.
In the application dated January 5, Mrs Jonathan told the court that despite the contempt proceedings, the respondents/contemnors have refused to obey the order of court to de-freeze the accounts of $5.8million and N3.5billion belonging to her foundation, adding that “unless this Honourable Court intervenes, the Respondents/Contemnors will continue to disobey its orders.” The former First Lady had earlier asked the court to strike out an ex parte originating summons by thy Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which sought to forfeit the funds in the bank accounts, arguing that the ex parte constituted a gross abuse of court process.
The organisations jointly listed against the bank CEOs are Incorporated Trustees of Ariwabai Aruera Reachout Foundation, Pagmat Oil and Gas Ltd, Finchley Top Homes Ltd, AM PM Global Network Ltd, Magel Resort Ltd and Incorporated Trustees of Women for Change and Development Initiative Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the CEO of First Bank PLC had asked the court to set aside or strike out the committal proceedings on the grounds that the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the application. The bank said they wrote to Mrs Jonathan on December 15, 2017 to provide the details of any other bank account in her name for transfer of the funds to enable the bank close her account with it, but got no response. Justice Binta Nyako has adjourned the case to April 11 for hearing.