Former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, in a stout defense of allegation against her, has said that she does not own the whopping sum of $31.7 million funds or any other such funds traced to her and allegedly recovered by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
She described such accusations as false and malicious and the reason for this best known by the commission. She said that the agency is just out to intimidate and destroy her because she is the wife of former president Goodluck Jonathan.
She also denied laying claim to another $20 and $5 million traced to her name and the allegations that she opened accounts in the names of cooks, drivers and artisans, describing the accusations as another falsehood by EFCC and aimed hoodwinking the public against her person.
According to a statement signed by her media consultant, Chima Osuji, Mrs. Jonathan further stated that she has nothing to do with the companies the EFCC linked her name with, adding that the purpose of these “tales by moonlight” is to malign her in the eyes of the misinformed and unsuspecting members of the Nigerian public and give a semblance of a picture of a hardworking agency bent on fighting corruption and indeed winning the war.
Mrs. Jonathan, in the statement, said that what happened was that, “Sometime in 2013, following the advice of top officials of the EFCC then in in the company of Hon. Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, who was the special Adviser on the Domestic and Household Affairs to the former President Goodluck Jonathan, that I should not travel overseas with cash otherwise I may contravene money laundering laws.
“Mrs. Jonathan agreed to open accounts with Skye Bank Plc and directed Hon. Dudafa to see to it. Hon Dudafa later came with two bank managers of the Skye Bank Plc with the account opening forms, which she duly signed. These accounts were all dollars based platinum Visa Cards in respect of the five accounts.
“When the banks officials brought the ATM cards for the said accounts of which she is the sole signatory and the accounts all linked to her personal BVN, she discovered to her surprise that only one of these accounts bore her personal name, while the other four were in the names of companies not known to her.
“She immediately complained about this anomaly to Hon. Dudafa and the bank officials–Adedamola Boledeoku and Dipo Oshodi came back to the Villa with the forms to change and convert the said account names of Mrs. Jonathan. This was her firm request which the bank’s officials promised to effect immediately and she duly completed account conversion and signed the mandate forms as the sole signatory, but as it would appear, the said bank officials did not change the account names despite her request.
“It was in 2014 or thereabout that she was given the ATM cards for all the five accounts with the bank officials promising to exchange the cards for the four reflecting her correct names. This again, the bank’s officials failed to do that despite her repeated request,” the statement averred.
Mrs. Jonathan explained that she’s not a director, shareholder, promoter, officer and/ or participant in any of the mentioned four companies, while she claimed that she is the sole signatory to the accounts which is linked to her personal BVN and therefore there is no driver, cook or artisan made to open or sign the said accounts.
As a former first lady and respected Nigerian citizen, Mrs. Jonathan said she has never received any monies from unknown sources paid into her accounts as this four accounts were opened to facilitate her travel overseas, particularly for medical treatment, sundry purchases for herself and the late mother, Mrs. Charity Oba (Mama Sisi), who later died.
She said that as a first lady and private citizen, she has never been involved in any economic crime and all these ATM cards were being used solely by her until four of the cards failed to function sometime May 2016 which necessitated her contacting the officials of the Skye Bank Plc to find what the problem was.
“I was then for the first time the officials of the Skye Bank Plc informed Mrs. Jonathan that EFCC placed no debit order/freezing instruction on the said accounts. This was in spite of the bank informing EFCC that those four accounts belonged to Mrs. Jonathan personally.
“It was at this stage that Mrs. Jonathan contacted her lawyers to protect her interest in her accounts with the Skye Bank Plc with a letter of authority. The lawyers promptly contacted the Skye bank and the officials wrote to her lawyers confirming the no debit/freezing placed on the account by the EFCC without notification to Mrs. Jonathan,” the statement emphasised.
The statement stated that the “net balance in all the said four accounts is far below or one third of the falsely quoted $31.7million,” and therefore challenged EFCC to provide documents showing otherwise and linked to Mrs. Jonathan.
It said that Hon Dudafa and the bank managers named earlier had all in writing informed EFCC that the balances in the said accounts belong to Mrs. Jonathan, but the EFCC rather than act on those credible sources of information have decided to orchestrate a mechanism to forcefully seize the monies belonging to her without any iota of evidence that the said accounts were proceeds of economic crime or at all.
“Rather than EFCC responding to valid and plausible complaints of the lawyers, they resorted to intimidating, torturing and forcing Hon. Dudafa, Adedamola Boledeoku and Dipo Oshodi amongst others to cajole them to make statement incriminating Mrs. Jonathan.
“The EFCC also called the Skye Bank Plc officials restraining them from communicating with the lawyers or giving them documents all in a bid to rope in Mrs. Jonathan,” the statement said.