The battle between the former first lady of Nigeria Dame Patience Jonathan and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has no end in sight. The freshest and latest of this battle is the freezing of Patience Jonathan’s personal account, titled ‘Patience Ibifaka Jonathan’, which is domiciled in Skye Bank Plc.
According to reports from Punch, the move had become necessary due to the prima facie case established against the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s wife.
As part of investigations into alleged diversion against a former Special Adviser to ex-President Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Waripamowei Dudafa, the anti-graft agency had frozen four companies’ accounts in Skye Bank with a balance of $15,591,700.
However, before the EFCC could arraign the four companies in court, Jonathan’s wife deposed to an affidavit, claiming that the money belonged to her.
Despite Patience’s claims, however, the EFCC arraigned 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.
The companies pleaded guilty and the EFCC had already begun moves to ensure that the money is forfeited permanently to the Federal Government.
According to reports from Punch, a detective at the EFCC said
“Recall that we had frozen the four companies’ accounts, which Patience Jonathan later laid claim to. We have been able to establish that the money was part of proceeds of crime.
“She had no evidence that the money in the four accounts belonged to her. All she had were platinum debit cards, which she was using to withdraw money and the cards are not evidence of ownership.
“Initially, we had traced $5m to her personal account, which we did not touch but I can confirm to you now that the $5m account, bearing Patience Jonathan’s name, has also been seized since she claimed that the monies in the company accounts and the one in her personal name all emanated from the same source.
“We are tracing other accounts belonging to Patience. It will interest you to know that despite all the letters she has written, she has never stated where she got the money from. She claimed to be a housewife and yet she has $20m.”
Patience Jonathan had recently written a letter to the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, where she claimed that she needed the money for her medical treatment abroad.
She had also sued Skye Bank for N200m, accusing the bank of freezing her accounts unjustly.
In a letter written by her lawyers, Granville Abibo (SAN) and Co, Patience said, “It is noteworthy to emphasise that the said accounts, which were in US dollar denomination, were card-based accounts and our client is the sole signatory of these accounts.
“The said bank officials also assured our client that they will change the account names accordingly and issue to our client new credit cards for the said accounts which was not done despite repeated demands.
“However, our client has been operating the said accounts using the cards for her medical bill payments and purchases for her private purposes without any let or hindrance.
“Our client was therefore surprised when the said cards stopped functioning on July 7, 2016 or thereabout. Our client immediately thereupon contacted Skye Bank Plc through our solicitors. It was only then that the bank officials informed our client that the said accounts were placed on a ‘No Debit Order’ following investigations and instructions from your commission and this is without notice to our client by either the bank or the commission.
“It is in the light of the foregoing that we urge you to use your good offices to vacate the ‘No Debit/Freezing Order’ placed on the said accounts.”