Bank blocks ex-First Lady from accessing her unfrozen account

Reports say when Mrs. Jonathan got to the bank to withdraw from her account, she was not granted access on the ground that the EFCC has blocked the account again.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of a Federal High Court in Lagos had last Thursday issued an order unfreezing Mrs Jonathan's account in the Skye Bank, which contains $5.8million.

It was learnt that on Monday, April 10, Mrs. Jonathan, alongside her aides went to the Skye bank's Maitama, Abuja, branch to withdraw from the account, but she was not granted access on the ground that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has obtained a stay of execution of the court order.

Citing a source at the bank, The Nation reports that Mrs. Jonathan had a meeting with an Executive Director of the bank, insisting that she had to withdraw from the account.

The source was quoted as saying: "The former First Lady came to our branch to collect cash from her unfrozen account but we could not honour her.

"She came at about 11am and left some minutes after 4pm. She had audience with an Executive Director of our bank.

"Her entry created a scene because she said the cash was her entitlement but we insisted that the account was still in dispute because of a pending appeal.

"There is still an application for a stay of execution. We do not want to engage in an act of subjudice."

Another source at the EFCC told the newspaper that the agency "received intelligence report that the ex-First Lady went to Skye Bank Plc to access her account but the bank disallowed her because of a pending appeal."

"We are determined to pursue this matter to a logical conclusion. Our position is that the account should remain frozen in line with our mandate.

"Considering our findings, we can safely conclude that a prima facie case of conspiracy to retain proceeds of unlawful activities, retention of the proceeds of unlawful activities, money laundering, contrary to Section 15(3) and 18(a) of the Money Laundering ( Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and forgery, contrary to Section 1(2) (c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act,  Cap M17, Laws of the Federation, 2004 have been established against  the ex-First Lady and others," the source added.

However, another report by The Cable says Mrs. Jonathan was able to withdraw some money from the account, but less than the amount she had requested.

The online news platform said she wanted to withdraw as much as $1 million, but was given $100,000 by the bank.

One of the aides of the former first lady was said to have told journalists that the transaction was successful.

The aide, who did not want to be named, simply said "everything was okay."

In November 2016, the EFCC asked the court for  an order freezing the account because it  was suspected to harbour proceeds of crime.

The judge obliged in December, 2016.

Also affected by the said order were the accounts of five companies holding N7.4 billion and the account of Esther Oba holding $429,381.87.


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