Nigeria’s former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has said that no court in the United States granted access to his accounts because he never owned any account in that country.
Law360 had reported that a New York judge granted Nigeria’s request to subpoena 10 banks in the US regarding access to account statements of some of Nigeria’s former top public officeholders,
In September 2019, a UK court awarded $9.6 billion against Nigeria in favour of Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID).
Ruling on the application on Thursday, Lorna Schofield, the judge, held that Nigeria’s request met the standards of the law.
But the court rejected Nigeria’s request to conceal its findings from P&ID.
The judge ordered that Nigeria must grant P&ID access to the documents received from the subpoena.
The banks involved are: Citibank, N.A. (Citibank), Allied Irish Banks plc (Allied Irish), HSBC Bank USA (HSBC), Standard New York, Inc. (Standard New York), Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Americas (Deutsche Bank), J.P. Morgan Chase (JPMorgan), United Bank for Africa (UBA), Bank of Cyprus, Fortis Private Banking Singapore Limited (Fortis), and Standard Chartered International (USA) Ltd. (Standard Chartered).
But Jonathan, through his media aide has consistently said he had no accounts in the United States.
Ikechukwu Eze, Special Adviser to Jonathan on Media, in a statement, said the former president’s attention had been drawn to reports in some online news sources that a New York federal judge, Lorna Schofield, had granted access to his US bank accounts.
“We wish to state that these reports are misleading and untrue. Yes, Judge Lorna Schofield has granted the subpoena applied for by the Federal Government of Nigeria seeking to verify if former President Jonathan, and other named persons, have bank accounts in the United States of America.
“No, the court did not grant access to the bank accounts of former President Jonathan, because the former President has no bank accounts in the United States, or any other country in the world, either in his name or in the name of privies,” he said.
According to Eze, “It will be recalled that when the news of the subpoena broke last month, we did not only restate the fact that former President Jonathan has no accounts in the United States but also urged the US authorities to grant Nigeria’s application by providing the requested bank records.
“It is expedient to mention that the subpoena was approved several days ago. Consequently, we urge those who implemented the subpoena to tell Nigerians and the world whether or not they found any bank accounts in the name of former President Goodluck Jonathan.”
Eze said “for the avoidance of doubt, we will continue to reiterate that whether in or out of office, former President Jonathan does not have any property or bank account outside Nigeria.
“Finally, be it known to the public that interested journalists can themselves make a Freedom of Information application to peruse the documents discovered by this subpoena. This is important because Nigerians deserve to know the outcome of these investigations.”