Nigeria court unfreezes millions in ex-first lady's fraud probe

2017-04-06 21:17
Patience Jonathan. (AFP: File)

Patience Jonathan. (AFP: File)

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Lagos- A judge in Lagos on Thursday ordered Nigeria's anti-graft agency to release one of several bank accounts frozen as part of an inquiry into the wife of former president Goodluck Jonathan.

Patience Jonathan had filed a complaint against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in September, claiming that she is the rightful owner of $15.6m held in several accounts.

The accounts were frozen last July as part of a money laundering and forgery investigation of some of the president's former advisers, as well as top officials at four companies.

They are suspected of laundering millions of dollars from public institutions.

But Justice Mojisola Olatoregun said the EFCC had committed an "abuse of process" with regards to one account in which Patience Goodluck is listed as the holder, which held $5.8m.

The other accounts, which she claims are hers but are held by associates, are not affected by the ruling.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who was elected in 2015, has vowed to stamp out the graft that plagues the oil-rich country.

But critics have accused the ex-military ruler of orchestrating a witch-hunt against former officials of Goodluck's party.

On Wednesday, Buhari was dealt a setback after one of Nigeria's leading judges was cleared of 18 corruption charges, with a judge calling the accusations "highly speculative."

Read more on:    patience jonathan  |  muhammadu buhari  |  goodluck jonathan  |  nigeria  |  west africa

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