A former first lady, Patience Jonathan, has threatened to file a N5 billion suit against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) if the commission fails to defreeze her accounts with Skye Bank within 14 days.
Mrs. Jonathan’s threat was contained in an open letter, issued by her attorneys, First Law Solicitors and signed by its Senior Partner, Timipa Jenkins Okponipere, and addressed to the Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.
She insisted that the anti-graft body’s actions were malicious and unconstitutional, adding that the said freezing of the accounts was gross violation of her fundamental rights.
The ex- first lady, however, said she would 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 hard working 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 irresponsible 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.”