The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has frozen over N8, 627,458,773.36 billion in three accounts of an associate and close friend of former first lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan, Hajiya Muinat Bola Shagaya.
According to The Nation report, Shagaya’s relationship with about 10 firms/account names are also being investigated by the EFCC.
The Kwara-born billionaire is however fighting back as the report says she has dragged one of her banks to the High Court of Lagos state for allowing the EFCC to Post No Debit (PND) on her accounts without a valid court order.
She says the action taken on her accounts violates Section34 (1) of the EFCC Act, 2004. Shagaya has since filed a court case via her counsel, Napoleon Emeaso-Nwachukwu and hearing of the matter is slated for Thursday, September 28.
However, the bank says its hands are tied by the law in complying with the EFCC’s directives to freeze Shagaya’s accounts.
The EFCC in a letter to the bank’s managing director in respect of one of the frozen accounts said: “The commission is investigating a case in which the above-mentioned account featured.
“In view of the above, you are requested to kindly check the table below and provide us with Certified True Copies (CTC) of the following information, which should include but not limited to the following:
(i) The deposit slips/telex copies (front and back) that conveyed the authority of the transactions;
(ii) Any investment made with the funds in any of your products which should include fixed/term deposit and their liquidation and the interest incurred, Banks Acceptance, Commercial Papers and any other relevant information in relation to these.
The EFCC listed the transactions in the said account as “N300m(Bola Shagaya RTGS); N300m (Additional N300FTD at 15% TRAN); N500m (Time Deposit); N2,317,013,698.64 (BNG COLLAOS FOR FTD-CUSTOMER ACCOL); N2.3billion (Opening a Time Deposit Account); N292, 495, 029.82 (Withdrawal from Time Deposit); N292, 495, 029.82 (TAK Asset Mgt Limited); N300m (Term Loan booked for 356 days); and N2,025,455,015.08 (BNG COLLAPS OF FTD Customer Account.”
In a separate letter Cr: 3000/EFCC/LS/STF/ STF3MP/ Vol.11/182 which Shagaya made available to the court, the EFCC asked the bank to Post No Debit(PND) on 10 accounts linked with her.
The account names are
(i) First Deep Water Discovery Limited;
(ii) Bola Shagaya;
(iii) FAPLiNs Nigeria Limited
(iv) Lingo Nigeria Limited;
(v) Buri Barclays BDC;
(vi) Links Global Synergy Ltd;
(vii) OKIOIL Nig. Ltd;
(vii) JEMARVIZ Nig Ltd;
(ix) PJ Oil and Gas Ltd; and
(x) AFDIN Ventures Ltd.
The anti-graft commission said: “The commission is investigating a case in which the above mentioned accounts featured.
“You are requested to kindly place the account on Post No Debit (PND) category pending the conclusion of the investigation.
“This request is made pursuant to Section 38(1) and (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004 and Section 21 of Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.”
In the third letter, the EFCC said it was looking into two other accounts including Voyage Oil and Gas and Bola Shagaya from 2008 to date.
But Shagaya accused the bank of complicity on her travails following the bank’s alleged failure to exercise the requisite due diligence.
She said the freezing of her accounts did not comply with Section 34(1) of the EFCC Act, 2004.
She specifically referred to the bank’s refusal to allow her to make transactions on Account 000326118 including payment of N514, 800,000 to Global Apex Air Limited, through Heavywind Integrated Services, for the lease of a bombardier Jet.
She said she had lost a lot of business goodwill since her accounts were frozen including
1. The loss of $1,000,000 deposited with Global Apex Air Ltd. Due to her in ability to pay accrued costs in line with Aircraft Lease Agreement which was occasioned by the failure of the Defendant to oblige the Claimant’s payment instruction to Heavywind Integrated Services.
2. Loss of business opportunities and goodwill occasioned by her inability to operate her account domiciled with the Defendant due to its freezing.
3. Loss of reputation occasioned by the Defendant’s wrongful dishonouring of her payment instructions to third parties.
But in a letter to Shagaya’s counsel, the bank said it has a legal and ethical responsibility to render assistance to law enforcement agencies.
“While the bank respects the contractual nature of the relationship with your client, it is without prejudice to the bank’s standing as a responsible law abiding corporate citizen.
“In spite of the bank’s contractual relationship with your client, that relationship is not without a legal and ethical responsibility to render assistance to law enforcement agencies when required of the bank.
“Litigation against the bank will therefore not be necessary in the circumstance,” part of the letter read.