A House of Representatives panel yesterday issued an arrest warrant against the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, for refusing to appear before it on a petition by former first lady, Patience Jonathan.
The committee on public petitions said Magu should be arrested and presented before it on November 7, after his failure to appear before the panel despite several invitations.
Mrs Jonathan had some of her accounts frozen by some banks following an investigation launched by the EFCC. But a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos ordered that all the accounts should be unfrozen.
The former first lady consequently sent a petition before the House against the EFCC, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), among others, alleging series of harassment from them.
At the continuation of sitting on the petition yesterday, the committee, which gave Magu up to yesterday to appear, lamented that the EFCC chairman was nonchalant on the matter.
The panel, chaired by Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (PDP, Abia), said it had sent several letters inviting the EFCC chairman to appear and clear the air on the directive the commission gave some banks to freeze Mrs Jonathan’s accounts.
The lawmakers said Magu has failed to appear before them and did not respond to any of their letters.
A member of the committee, Rep Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers), consequently moved that a bench warrant be issued against Magu to appear before the panel on the next adjourned date.
All members of the committee present at the sitting supported the motion. Abonta then ruled that a bench warrant be issued against Magu.
Meanwhile, the committee directed Mrs Jonathan’s lawyers to sit with the management of Zenith Bank, Eco Bank, First Bank and Fidelity Bank to address the issue of the court order asking the banks to unfreeze Patience’s accounts. The committee also discharged Union Bank as it fully complied with an earlier directive to unfreeze Mrs Jonathan’s accounts.
The committee had a fortnight ago directed all the affected banks to unfreeze Mrs Jonathan’s accounts that do not have pending court orders or official communication from the EFCC to do so.