The Senate has asked four commercial banks to unblock the accounts of former First Lady, Patience Jonathan.
This was the decision of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, investigating the petitions against the freezing of her bank accounts.
The committee after subjecting the management of four different banks where the First Lady had accounts, directed that those accounts not encumbered by any legal process be re-opened.
Presided over by Sam Anyanwu (PDP, Imo State), the panel observed that some of the accounts were frozen based on some administrative lapses.
One of the accounts which is with the Stanbic IBTC, according to the committee had not breached any known law.
The account with the Zenith Bank according to the Committee 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 in which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) used the banks to freeze the accounts without following legal procedure.
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.
Accordingly, they promised to re-open those accounts having been made to know of the vacation order.
The committee expressed shock that the banks could rely on a letter by the anti-graft agency anticipating a favourable ruling to freeze customer’s account.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja