•Shagaya sues Unity Bank, says accounts frozen without court order
•Freeze: I have lost business goodwill, can’t pay N514m debts on chartered aircraft, Shagaya tells court
•Unity Bank: Our hands are tied by the law
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has frozen over N8, 627,458,773.36 billion in three accounts of Hajiya Muinat Bola Shagaya, an associate and friend of a former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan.
Shagaya’s relationship with about 10 firms/account names are also being investigated by the anti-graft agency, The Nation learnt yesterday.
But Shagaya, who did not hold any public appointment during the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, has dragged Unity Bank 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.
Besides, the withdrawal ban placed on one of her accounts has prevented her from defraying N514, 800,000 incurred as cumulative costs in the course of an Aircraft Lease Agreement of a bombardier Jet, according to documents which Shagaya filed and deposed to at the Court alongside with her counsel, Napoleon Emeaso-Nwachukwu.
Hearing of the matter is slated for September 28.
However, Unity 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 Unity Bank 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 Unity 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.
It said: “The commission is investigating a case in which the above mentioned accounts featured. In view of the above, you are requested to kindly provide us with Certified True Copies (CTC) of the following information which should include but not limited to the following: (i) The Mandate Card and statement(s) of all domiciliary and Naira account(s) in the above mentioned accounts from 2008 to date with letter of certification in accordance with Section 84 of the Evidence Act 2011; (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, Bank Acceptance, Commercial Papers and any other relevant information related to these.
“You are further requested to kindly place the account on Post No Debit (PND) category pending the conclusion of investigation.”
But Shagaya accused Unity 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 Heavy wind Integrated Services, for the lease of a bombardier Jet.
She said the Aircraft Lease Agreement between her and Global Apex Air Limited has been terminated with her forfeiting US$1million.
In an affidavit she deposed to, Shagaya said: “The official of the Defendant (Unity Bank) whom my Personal Assistant relayed the development to, informed him that on the 3rd of November, 2016, the Defendant received a letter from the EFCC through their Lagos office informing it that my account with it is under investigation and requested that the account be put on “Post No Debit” pending the outcome of the investigation hence the Defendant’s inability to honour my payment instruction.
“Initially I laughed off the excuse as a ploy of the Defendant to deter me from taking legal actions against it for dishonouring my payment instructions especially that of the 31st of October 2016 which ultimately led to the termination of the Aircraft Lease with Global Apex Air Ltd. And the loss of the sum of One Million United States Dollars deposited with the Lessor by me.
“By reason the Defendant’s action, I have suffered loss of reputation and damages and my person brought to disrepute, public opprobrium and odium.
“The actions of the Defendant which consist in unlawfully freezing my account without an Order of a Court of competent jurisdiction and failing to disclose same to me promptly was unreasonable as well as defamatory of me before my business associates who now see me as a criminal and an untrustworthy fellow who is in the habit of issuing due cheques and payment instructions that she knew would not be honoured.
She said she had lost a lot of business goodwill since her accounts were frozen including.