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Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Patience Jonathan Threatens N5b Suit Against EFCC

Image result for  Former First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan
Former First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan has threatened a N5 billion suit against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) if it fails to unfreeze her accounts with Skye Bank.

She gave the agency 14 days to unfreeze the accounts being investigated.
Mrs Jonathan’s ultimatum and threat were contained in an open letter, issued by her counsel, Messrs First Law Solicitors, signed by its Senior Partner, Timipa Jenkins Okponipere and addressed to the EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu.

She noted that the anti-graft body’s actions against her were both malicious and unconstitutional, adding that the said freezing of her accounts grossly violated her fundamental rights, targeted at her for political reasons.

Mrs. Jonathan said she will not hesitate to file a legal action against the EFCC at the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights in The Gambia if the commission continues to
bar her access to the accounts in the next 14 days.

The letter reads: “Sir, it is our Client’s brief that there is no formal criminal complaint of economic and financial crime as defined by the EFCC ACT 2004 written by any person or institution against her which warranted the EFCC to freeze her accounts. It is also our client’s brief that the EFCC failed to obtain a court order as required by Section 34 of the EFCC Act before her accounts were frozen.

“It is our client’s further brief that, up until the writing of this open letter, she has not received any formal invitation to appear before the commission for questioning; whereas her accounts domiciled with SKYE Bank Plc have since been frozen by the commission without recourse to her.

“We are very much aware of numerous instances where EFCC used strong-arm tactics to dispossess hardworking Nigerians of their legitimately earned money; only to turn around to brazenly and shamelessly loot the recovered loot. This is one of such unfortunate instances. Clearly, it is a failed politically-motivated attempt by the EFCC to steal our Client’s money using the cover of the present political climate.

“For the avoidance of doubt, it shall be counter-productive and inimical to the public interest if the Attorney-General of the Federation and/or the EFCC heeded the calls to commence the arrest and prosecution of our client based on suspicion. If they did otherwise, they shall be violating the extant provision of Section 174(3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which clearly prohibits criminal proceedings that were not in the public interest. Besides, suspicion; no matter how strong it may seem; cannot ground a conviction.

“We hereby categorically and emphatically state that, Her Excellency, Mrs. Patience Ibifaka Jonathan should be left alone.
“Furthermore, there is no established legal or political precedent for what the EFCC is currently doing to our client. How many former First Ladies in Nigeria have received the Patience Goodluck Jonathan Treatment (PGJT) to have warranted the EFCC to engage in the effrontery to freeze our client’s accounts and subject her to public opprobrium, ridicule and disgrace?

“Consequently, we urge the EFCC to de-freeze our client’s accounts within 14 days from today, September 18, 2016 and tender a public apology to our client.
“Take notice and notice is hereby given that if the EFCC fails, refuses and/or neglects to comply accordingly, we shall file an action at the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights in The Gambia, demanding five billion naira (N5 billion) in exemplary and punitive damages.”