Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday unfreezed a Skye bank Plc account containing $5,842,316.66 belonging to former first lady Dame Patience Jonathan earlier frozen by an order of the court.
Justice Olatoregun vacated the order while ruling on an application filed by the former first lady, in which she argued that she was not a party in the suit leading to the order made by the court freezing her account.
Mrs. Jonathan had also argued through her counsel, Adedayo Adedipe a Senior Advocate of Nigeria that the suit was an abuse of court process as the court has no jurisdiction to make an order against a party that is not a party in a suit filed before the court.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) did not file a response to the application filed to discharge the order.
In her ruling, Justice Olatoregun agreed with the submission of Adedipe and discharged the order freezing the account.
The judge held that the court cannot exercise jurisdiction over a party that is not before the court.
The court further stated that since the account frozen is a personal account of the former first lady, ought to have been joined in the suit to enable her respond to the allegation.
The anti-graft agency had something in September last year filed an expert application before the court, seeking an order of temporary forfeiture of Mrs. Jonathan’s account containing the sum of $5,842,316.66 domicile with Skye on the ground that the money is suspected to be proceeds of crime.
Also affected by the said order are five companies and one Esther Oba who were having a total sums of N7,418,829,290.94 for the five companies and $429,381.87 for Esther Oba in six different commercial banks.
The court is yet to lift the frozen order on the company’s account and that of Oba.
The EFCC had claimed in an affidavit attached to the suit, sworn to by an investigating officer commission, Abdulahi Tukur, that there is urgent need for the court to direct the managers of the bank accounts contained in the schedule filed with the summons FHC/L/CS/1343/16 to in the interim, forfeit the money contain therein to prevent further tampering with the account being sought to be attached.