$20m accounts: EFCC to invite Patience Jonathan

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Dame Patience Jonathan

ENIOLA AKINKUOTU

Having frozen her personal account with a balance
of $5m as well as four other accounts linked to
her with a balance of $15.6m, the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission is set to invite Dame
Patience Jonathan, the wife of former President
Goodluck Jonathan.

Impeccable sources at the EFCC said that detectives had visited the Skye Bank
branch on Adeola Hopewell, Victoria Island, where
the accounts were opened and had obtained the
files containing Patience’s information.
The source told our correspondent that the
detectives had been able to establish a prima facie
case of money laundering and forgery against
Patience.

It will be recalled that as part of investigations into
a former Special Adviser to the President on
Domestic Affairs, Waripamowei Dudafa, the EFCC
traced four company accounts to him all domiciled
at Skye Bank.
The bank accounts of the four companies — 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 — were said to have
been opened with stolen identities.
Some of the directors of the company were also
said to be domestic servants of Dudafa who did
not know that any account had been opened on
their behalf.
Shortly before the EFCC could arraign the suspects,
Mrs. Jonathan deposed to an affidavit insisting that
the monies belonged to her, a move which
prompted the commission to beam its searchlight
on Patience.
A detective at the EFCC said, “After three months of
investigation, I can confirm to you that we are set
to invite Patience Jonathan. We obtained the files
from the bank and we realised that those accounts
with the $15m were opened with fake identity
cards, including driving licences.
“We took the cards and went to the Federal Road
Safety Corps to verify if the cards were authentic.
We found out that the cards were fake. So, this is
not just money laundering but a clear case of
fraud.
“If they had nothing to hide, why did they go to
this length?”
While the companies have pleaded guilty, Patience
insists that the money belongs to her but claims
she does not know the companies.
In an affidavit, one Sammie Somiari deposed to on
behalf of Patience, Mrs. Jonathan claimed that
Dudafa helped Patience to open the bank accounts
in 2010.
However, EFCC investigations revealed that the
accounts were opened between 2013 and 2014.
According to Somiari, Dudafa had on March 22,
2010 brought two Skye Bank officers to meet
Patience at home to open five accounts.
The deponent claimed that Patience was the sole
signatory to the accounts.
He, however, claimed that after the five accounts
were opened, Patience later discovered that Dudafa
opened only one of the accounts in her name while
the other four were opened in the names of
companies belonging to Dudafa.
Meanwhile, sources within the agency told our
correspondent that the commission had been
under pressure to drop the case as there are plans
by Patience’s supporters to embark on a series of
protests this week.
On Friday, scores of supporters of Mrs. Jonathan
stormed the Port Harcourt zonal office of the EFCC
asking the commission to stop probing her.
They insisted that Patience, who is also from
Rivers State, was innocent.
The protesters, who were led by one Sara-Igbe
Sukubo, a self-professed anti-corruption
ambassador, said they were in the commission to
express their unhappiness and submit their letter
of protest over what he called ill-treatment of Mrs.
Jonathan.
In his response, the South-South zonal head of the
EFCC, Ishaq Salilu, told the protesters that the EFCC
as a creation of law discharges its responsibilities
within the ambits of the law.
He said, “The EFCC is a law-abiding organisation
which discharges its duties not minding whose ox
is gored. We do not shy away from our
responsibilities. Where there is a case, we pursue
it to its logical conclusion, if there is no case,
there is none, we move to other things. The motto
of the commission is ‘Nobody is above the law.’”

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