$20m accounts: Patience Jonathan may forfeit N10bn hotel to FG

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of former
President Goodluck Jonathan, may forfeit to the
Federal Government,
a N10bn hotel allegedly
belonging to her if she fails to explain how she
came about some funds allegedly traced to her
accounts.
“This is one of the questions she may have to
answer as the Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission continues investigation into the $20m
found in five accounts she has laid claim to,” a
source told our correspondent on Monday.
The hotel, which is known as Aridolf Resort
Wellness and Spa, Yenagoa, was inaugurated by
Patience in April 2015, barely a month before the
end of her husband’s tenure.

According to a UK business newspaper, The
Financial Times, the hotel, which has imported
state-of-the-art furniture, can compete with other
luxury hotels in developed countries.
The report dated April 21, 2015, states in part, “The
Aridolf Hotel in Yenagoa is an unlikely monument
to kitsch on a reclaimed swamp in Nigeria’s oil-
producing Niger Delta. In the lobby, Louis XIV
furniture is accompanied by bowls of plastic fruit,
faux Dutch landscapes and a grotesquely gaudy
chandelier. The hotel is redolent of the riches on
display in a region that for half a century has
generated the bulk of Nigeria’s wealth.
“The Aridolf, which is owned by Patience Jonathan,
wife of the former President, is symptomatic of
how superficial progress has been in addressing
the festering sense of marginalisation in the region,
which remains desperately impoverished despite
benefiting from a tide of petrodollars in recent
years.”
The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee
Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, told our
correspondent that the EFCC had the right to
investigate anybody who was living above his or
her means.
He said anybody, who failed to do so, could risk
forfeiture of properties believed to have been
obtained through stolen funds or could lose funds
traced to him or her.
Sagay, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, wondered
how Patience, who was a civil servant and never
held any government position, could have billions
in her bank accounts.
He said, “The EFCC and ICPC Acts have provisions
under which they can ask the court to freeze the
account of a person if a person’s capacity to earn
is below the amount of money that the person
appears to have.
“If you are living a lavish lifestyle and it appears
you don’t have the means to have acquired the
property and the wealth you have, the EFCC is free
to probe you.”
Patience recently sued Skye Bank and the EFCC for
freezing four company accounts which have a
balance of $15m.
The former first lady also has another account with
the title, ‘Patience Ibifaka Jonathan’ which has a
balance of $5m. The account is, however, still
active.
The PUNCH had reported that four of the accounts
belonged to Pluto Property and Investment
Company Limited, Seagate Property Development
and Investment Company Limited, Trans Ocean
Property and Investment Company Limited and
Globus Integrated Service Limited.
The anti-graft commission believed that a former
Special Adviser to the President on Domestic
Affairs, Waripamowei Dudafa, forged the identities
of his domestic servants to open the four accounts
while the fifth account was opened in the name of
Patience.
The domestic servants were, however, denied
access to the accounts while a platinum card was
issued to Patience.
The EFCC froze the accounts of the four companies
which were initially believed to be owned by
Dudafa until Patience stated last week that the four
accounts belonged to her.
The EFCC is set to arraign Dudafa and some bank
officials for alleged fraud.
However, Mr. Joseph Okobieme, the lawyer to
Demola Bolodeoku, one of the bank officials, said
his client did not take part in forging the
signatures of the domestic servants/directors.
He said, “I don’t know why he was included in the
charge. He has no business in this transaction. He
was merely doing his job as a banker. The
allegation they levelled against him was not that
he benefitted from the proceeds of the alleged
transaction.
“There is a mere allegation of forgery of certain
documents which are not within his power to have
forged because he is not a director of the
company.
“These four companies were duly registered by the
CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) with the
names and the directors on record. So, if they say
the names of these directors were forged, it is not
possible for my client to have forged them. Clearly,
he was not the author of the documents.”
He believed that the four domestic servants should
be charged by the EFCC as well.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s