22 May 2019

Nigeria: No Debit Order - Court Fixes October 16 for Patience Jonathan's Suit

A Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed October 16 for hearing in a suit filed by former First Lady, Patience Jonathan, challenging a "No Debit Order" placed on her accounts.

Mrs Jonathan had filed the suit in 2016, to challenge the order placed on four Skye Bank (now Polaris Bank Ltd) accounts having a total of $9.8 million.

Joined as defendants in the suit are: the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Polaris Bank Ltd, and Pluto Property and Investment Company Ltd.

Also joined as defendants are: Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Ltd, and Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Ltd.

The former first lady is seeking a declaration that she is owner of the funds in the accounts opened in the names of the third, fourth and fifth defendants, and so, entitled to access to the funds for her use and benefit.

The case, which was fixed for further mention before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke on Wednesday, has now been slated for trial on October 16.

At the last adjourned date on March 27, plaintiff's counsel, Ifedayo Adedipe, SAN, informed the court that the case, which was first before his brother judge, Justice Mohammed Idris (who has been elevated to the court of Appeal), was for mention.

He had said the matter was coming up before Mr Aneke for the first time, and so, will be commencing afresh.

According to him, plaintiff had to amend her statement of claim to correctly reflect the name of Skye bank as now Polaris Bank, adding that the change in nomenclature necessitated the amendment.

Other counsel present had confirmed the position to the court, adding that their respective amended processes will also be filed and served.

On the next adjourned date, substantive hearing will begin.

In the suit, Jonathan is seeking an order, restraining the EFCC or any other person, from preventing the plaintiff access to the said funds contained in the third to fifth defendant's account with Skye Bank (now Polaris Bank).

Plaintiff is also seeking an order, discharging the "No Debit Freezing Order" placed on the accounts of the third to fifth defendants.

She further seeks an order directing Polaris Bank to release forthwith, the sum of $9.8 million standing to the credit of the plaintiff, as at March 29, 2016, or any such other funds in the account.

(NAN)

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