Former first lady Patience Jonathan is spinning a tall tale in court as she challenges the freezing of her accounts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The EFCC is arguing that Mrs. Jonathan could not possibly have genuinely earned those sums as a retired permanent secretary and former first lady who did not run any profit making venture. The commission argued that the money was stolen from the federal government and its agencies. It said Mrs. Jonathan’s case “is frivolous, spurious, speculative, vexatious and an abuse of court process and should be dismissed with substantial cost.”
Here is the case being made by Mrs. Jonathan’s concerning the $15.5 million:
- She has sued the EFCC, Skye Bank Plc and three companies – Pluto Property and Investment Company Ltd, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Ltd and Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Ltd.
- The companies had previously pleaded guilty to conspiring with the former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa to launder the $15.5 million.
- But Patience Jonathan is arguing that the monies in the companies’ accounts with Skye Bank belong to her. She accused the EFCC of “procuring” the representatives of the companies to plead guilty, whereas they were unknown to her.
- The former first lady said she sought the assistance of Dudafa to open some accounts in her name. Subsequently she was issued four ATM cards, but according to her, three of the four accounts bore the names of companies she had no connection with. She said that Skye Bank promised to rectify the issue so she decided to keep using the cards and accounts with fake names pending when the bank fixes the issue.
- The accounts were opened around November 2013. She continued using those accounts with the fake names until July 2016 when she traveled abroad for a medical checkup and discovered that she could not make withdrawals because a “no-debit order” had been placed on the accounts.
- She dismissed the EFCC’s arguments that huge sums of monies were stolen from government agencies like NIMASA and the Office of the National Security Adviser. She wants the court to restrain the EFCC from transferring the funds to the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) as she needs it to cater to her health.
Justice Mohammed Idris had ordered parties to file pleadings in the case, indicating that witnesses, including Mrs Jonathan, may testify to justify the money’s ownership.
The case will be heard on January 19.