THE Senate, yesterday, ordered banks to, as a matter of urgency, unfreeze accounts belonging to former First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan.
According to the Senate, the accounts were frozen without specific restriction orders from any competent court of law and some of the accounts were frozen based on administrative lapses.
Succour came the way of the former first lady after the Senator Samuel Anyanwu, PDP, Imo East-led Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions drilled the management of the four banks where Mrs Jonathan had accounts and directed that accounts not encumbered by any legal process be re-opened.
The committee noted that one of the accounts with Stanbic IBTC Bank never breached any known law or due process. According to the Committee, the account with the Zenith Bank must be re-opened because the court order which directed that it should be frozen had been vacated by another court order. The committee members were particularly displeased with what they called arbitrary manner the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, used the banks to close the accounts without complying with due process of law. After listening to the committee, bank executives present informed the committee that the court order vacating the earlier ones relied upon by the EFCC to close the accounts were not made available to them. Meanwhile, the banks have promised to re-open the accounts on account of the vacation order. The committee expressed shock that the banks could rely on ordinary letter by the EFCC anticipating a favourable ruling to freeze customers’ accounts.