Former first lady, Patience Jonathan, has denied allegations that her accounts were used to launder huge sums of money.
According to The Nation, Mrs Jonathan made the denial in a statement by her media aide, Yemi Akinbode, shortly after four companies which are being investigated for fraud and which she had earlier claimed ownership of their accounts, pleaded guilty to money laundering charges at a Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday September 15th.
The statement in part reads;
“That Mrs. Patience Ibifaka Jonathan is laying claim to ownership of a whopping sum of $31.7 million dollars fund recovered by EFCC is a complete fallacy. Mrs. Jonathan does not own and has never owned such amount of money. The reason for this lie is best known to the EFCC.
That another sum of $20 million dollars has been traced to Mrs. Patience Ibifaka Jonathan, is again, another falsehood aimed at hoodwinking the public against Mrs. Jonathan.
That a further sum of $5 million dollars has again being traced to another account of Mrs. Patience Jonathan. This is also a fallacy. That Mrs. Patience Jonathan opened accounts in the names of cooks, drivers and artisans. This is perhaps the biggest falsehood to the knowledge of EFCC.”
The former First Lady expressed doubts in the authenticity of the representatives of the four companies who pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering. Her lawyer, Gboyega Oyewole, said she would appeal the validity of the representatives of Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Limited, Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited and Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited. Mrs Jonathan’s counsel alleged that the EFCC presented four unknown people as the companies’ representatives, all of whom he said did not show letters authorising them by their respective boards to represent them in the case.
“This is a clear evidence of the desperation of the prosecution to pull down the former First Lady and confiscate her hard-earned money,” Oyewole said in his statement. Mrs Jonathan accused the EFCC of attempting to dent her image and trampling on her fundamental human rights.
“This is an irony. I was the one who went to court for the repatriation of my confiscated money when I realised that the EFCC and its co-travellers were playing politics with this issue after I had come out publicly to say that the said money belongs to me and that I have all evidence to prove the sources of my money. Up till this very moment, EFCC has refused to interrogate or invite me for questioning, while the agency has continued to detain Dudafa under heavy armed security guards.
The biggest twist in court on Thursday (yesterday) was that the fourth to seventh defendants pleaded guilty to all the 15-count charges. It is clear that these unknown faces were agents of the EFCC, who have been stage-managed and tutored to come to court to complicate the case as a strategy to confiscate my money.”
Mrs Jonathan insisted that she was not a director, shareholder, promoter or participant in any of the four companies that pleaded guilty, and that she was the sole signatory to all the accounts, contrary to the fabrication that she used her driver and cook as proxies. She also denied ever receiving any monies from any unknown sources into her accounts, adding that they were opened in order to facilitate her travel overseas particularly for medical treatment, sundry purchase for herself and her late mother Mrs. Charity Oba (Mama Sisi).
On how her monies got to the accounts, she said she directed a former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to President Jonathan Waripamo Dudafa to open the accounts for her, only for him to open them in his companies’ names rather than her name.
“She immediately complained about this anomaly to Hon. Dudafa and the bank officials, Demola Doledeoku and Dipo Oshodi came back to the villa with forms to change and convert the said accounts to the personal name of Mrs Jonathan. This was her firm request which the bank officials promised to effect immediately and she duly completed account conversion forms and signed the mandate forms as a the sole signatory, but as it would appear, the said bank officials did not change the account names despite her request,” the statement added.