A Federal high court sitting in Lagos South West Nigeria has adjourned till 17th May 2018 for judgement, a suit filed by a Nigerian businesswoman, Hajiya Bola Muinat Shagaya, against Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Bola Shagaya in a suit filed before the court is urging the court to set aside the order of the court freezing her bank accounts in Unity Bank Plc, but Federal Government is contending that the accounts in contention were used by the businesswoman to Launder Billion of Naira for former first Lady Mrs Dame Patience Jonathan.
In an affidavit sworn to by a litigation officer Sulaiman Ali and filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer Mr Napoleon Emeaso-Nwachukwu, the deponent averred that sometimes in the month of October and November 2016,Hajiya Bola Shagaya issued several payment instructions to her bank, Unity Bank Plc in respect of third party transactions, but to the applicant chagrin the said payment instructions were declined by her bank, in spite of the fact that the applicant had enough money standing to her credit with her bank to cover the payment instructions prior to issuing the instructions.
Upon enquiry the bank intimated the applicant that it received a letter from the Federal Government directing it to place a Post No Debit on her account with it.
Thereafter the Applicant instituted a suit at the High court of Lagos State against Unity Bank Plc, but in its defence the bank annexed a copy of a court order to the court process it filed to justify its refusal to honour the numerous payments instructions issued by the applicant.
Mr Sulaiman averred further that the ex-parte order of the court attaching the applicant’s property made pending the determination of an investigation and possible prosecution of the applicant is devoid of a definite time frame and capable of lasting in perpetuity.There is no criminal suit pending against the applicant in any court of law anywhere prior to, or after the ex- parte order now sought to be set aside was made.
Consequently, the applicant contended that, it would be the interest of Justice for the court to set aside the order.
However, in a counter affidavit sworn to by an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC , Mr Musbahu Yahaya Abubakar, and filed before the court by EFCC legal officer Barrister Idris Abdullahi Mohammed, the deponent averred that EFCC received a cogent, direct and positive intelligence of a case of Conspiracy, Unlawful Enrichment and money laundering against the applicant, that the applicant was making suspicious deposits into the accounts subject matter of investigation. The fund of the unlawful activities were paid into a front organisation account called “Women For Change Initiative” for the benefit of the former first lady Mrs Dame Patience Jonathan.
The applicant through her alleged fraudulent activities in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC influenced the fraudulent allocation of Dual Purpose Kerosene DPK to Index Petrolube Africa limited with the aid of the former first lady.
As a result of these fraudulent activities, the applicant was paid “Founder Fees” In the total sum of N3,305,150,000 by Indexo Petrolube Africa limited and its sister company, Autodex Nigeria Limited both owned by Hon.Ezeani ThankGod for the fraudulent facilitation of Dual Purpose Kerosene DPK to his company,Index Petrolube Africa Limited.
Based on the above, the applicant paid a cumulative sum of N1,212,000,000.to the former first lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan through her account Women for change initiative account domiciled in Diamond bank in which the former first lady was sole signatory.
The sum of N1,902,673,399.93 remaining balance from the aforementioned proceeds of the unlawful activities, was warehoused in the personal accounts of the applicant domiciled in Unity Bank.
EFCC invited Billy Okoye, the Executive Director Commercial of the Nigerian Petroleum Marketing Company NPMC, a subsidiary of NNPC who stated that he do not know anything about the founder ‘s fee and he never heard of it until confronted by the EFCC.
It was further averred that whenever Hon. Ezeani ThankGod makes fraudulent deposits into the account of Hajiya Shagaya through his companies, Index Petrolube Africa Limited and Autodex Nigeria Limited, Hajiya Shagaya will thereafter transfer particular sum to the account of the former first lady viz women for change initiatives in Diamond bank.
The applicant was alleged to have been using three accounts numbers, 0003261118, 0025111493, 0025092589.domiciled in Unity Bank Plc respectively to warehouse and harbors the suspected proceeds of the alleged crime
In view of the above, the respondent applied to the court ex -parte for an order of interim attachment before a Federal high court in Lagos, and the presiding Judge in his wisdom after hearing the respondent application and reading the originating summons granted an interim order on the 29th December, 2016 against the applicant accounts domiciled in the Unity Bank pending the determination of the investigation and possible prosecution.
Investigation further revealed that the funds transfered to Mrs Dame Patience Jonathan are parts of the funds paid to her for facilitating allocation of DPK to Index Petrolube Africa company. The applicant was alleged to have refused to honour EFCC invitation to enable the anti-graft agency to confront her with its findings of investigation.
Consequently, the respondent while urging the court to refuse the application and dismiss same as the application is not only frivolous, but an abuse of court process, and time wasting
After the adoption of the written addresses of the two parties today, the presiding judge Oluremi Oguntoyinbo i till 17th May, 2018 for judgement.