FirstBank tackles former first lady on $4m demand

First Bank has finally reacted to the demand of former first lady, Patience Jonathan that she be paid $3,626,273.71 she had lodged with the bank, describing the demand as unjustified.

Managing Director of the bank, Adesola Adedutan gave the response to Patience Jonathan’s application seeking to jail him (Adedutan) and two other bank MDs for disobeying a court order directing that her account be unfrozen.

Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court had earlier frozen the account and two others with Skye Bank and Diamond Bank at the behest of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Adedutan said First bank asked Patience Jonathan to furnish it with a different bank account it could transfer her balance to, but she did not comply.

He said Jonathan “does not have any account in her name where monies can be transferred and would prefer cash to be paid to her as the lodgements made into that account were done in cash”.

He further said Jonathan, on December 27, 2017 gave “three separate accounts of her counsel telling the bank that the said sum be paid into those three named accounts of solicitors who are third parties and the balance paid to her in cash”.

Adedutan said the bank ignored the request because it violated the Money Laundering Act, but rather wrote to Patience Jonathan on January 17, 2018, directing her “to visit a designated office of the bank in Abuja to pick the cheque (issued for her balance to be paid).”

Justice Nyako had on May 30, 2017 frozen a total of 16 accounts, including 13 kept with the three banks.

Following an application by Patience Jonathan and others challenging the freezing order, the court, on December 5, 2017, unfroze the accounts and lifted all the restrictions placed on them.

The other defendants, which are corporate entities believed to be owned by Patience Jonathan, are Ariwabai Aruera Reachout Foundation, Pagmat Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited, Finchley Top Homes Limited , AM PM Global Network Limited, Magel Resort Limited and the Incorporated Trustees of Women for Change and Development Initiative Nigeria.

Others are Transocean Property and Investment Limited, Seagate Property Development Investment Company, Globus Integrated Services and Pluto Property and Investment Company.