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Court freezes N350m allegedly traced to Patience Jonathan

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The Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday granted an order temporarily freezing N350million allegedly traced to wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience.

The money is in an account domiciled in Stanbic IBTC, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said.

Justice Hadiza Rabiu-Shagari granted EFCC’s ex-parte application filed by its lawyer Mr Rotimi Oyedepo.

The commission said the money was allegedly transferred to a company’s account while Mrs Jonathan was serving as a Permanent Secretary in Bayelsa State between 2012 and 2013.

The commission alleged that the former first lady “unlawfully enriched” herself with the money.

In a supporting affidavit to the application, an investigating officer at EFCC, Musbahu Yahaya, said the commission received “a cogent, direct and positive intelligence report” that a company, AM-PM Global Network Limited, was in possession of proceeds of the unlawful act and retained it in an account.

He said, between June 20, 2012, and November 15, 2013, the company fraudulently received N1,206,950,000 via its Diamond Bank account, numbered 0026718889.

EFCC said the money was “proceeds of unlawful enrichment derived by Mrs Dame Patience Jonathan who was then a Permanent Secretary appointed by the Bayelsa State Government.”

According to the deponent, in a bid to dissipate the funds, the company opened an account numbered 0016971559 with Stanbic IBTC.

“Out of the alleged proceed of unlawful enrichment of Mrs Dame Patience Jonathan, the respondent transferred the total sum of N350million from its account in Diamond Bank to the account sought to be attached (Stanbic IBTC) in a desperate bid to dissipate the funds.

 “We have traced the said N350million to the respondent’s (AM-PM Global Network’s) account sought to be attached and the order of this court is needed to instruct the bank to attach the account to prevent the dissipation of the funds.“The respondent is making frantic effort to dissipate these funds,” the deponent said.

EFCC said unless the application was urgently heard and determined, the company would tamper with the account.

“It will serve the course of justice to grant this application,” the commission said.

Justice Hadiza decided the application as prayed.

She granted “an order directing Manager of the Stanbic IBTC Bank to in the interim freeze the account pending the determination of the investigation and possible prosecution of this case.”

The Nation