The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions chaired by Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, has directed six (6) commercial banks to unfreeze accounts operated by the wife of Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Mrs. Patience Jonathan.
The committee gave the order to Union Bank, First Bank, Eco Bank, Diamond Bank, Fidelity Bank and Skye Bank, on Tuesday at a hearing on a petition by Mrs. Patience.
The accounts were frozen over alleged corruption following order by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
According to Kenneth Otowo, a lawyer who represented Union Bank, the former First Lady’s account with the bank was placed under a ‘precautionary restriction’ following EFCC’s directive.
“We received a communication from EFCC to put a precautionary restriction on the account. The letter was dated March 21, 2016, so we had to act based on that,’’ he said.
However, the committee condemned the action, saying that the bank could only take such decision if the EFCC issued a court order to do same.
“Until EFCC proves otherwise, I’ll ask you to remove the precautionary restriction on the account. Let me tell you, whatever you’ll do, you must follow the law. A bank can’t hold a legal entity to ransom.
“I want to order all other banks that all the accounts that have no specific pending order from the courts, please release them,’’ Nkem-Abonta , a PDP member representing Abia State said.
Same directive were also given to the other banks by the committee.
Also, the committee has ordered Mr. Ibrahim Magu, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to appear before it before October 4 or have an arrest warrant issued against him.