The wife of the ex-president, Patience Jonathan who is in a bitter war with the EFCC has denied the companies which pleaded guilty to money laundering.
Former First Lady Patience Jonathan has admitted that she is the owner and signatory to the five accounts in which the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) found over $22.3million. According to her, the accounts were opened for her medical treatments.
Mrs. Jonathan revealed that she has never received any money from any unknown sources into the five accounts, although she refused to explain how she got the money found in her accounts.
According to a report by The Nation, Mrs. Jonathan has denied opening the accounts in the names of cooks, drivers and artisans. Mr. Wampemo-Owei Dudafa, the Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, and Skye Bank officials for registering phony companies for four of the five accounts.
In a statement by Yemi Akinbode, Mrs Jonathan picked holes in the authenticity of the representatives of the four companies who pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering.
He quoted her lawyer, Gboyega Oyewole, as saying 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.
The former First Lady’s counsel alleged that the prosecution 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,” the statement quoted Oyewole as saying.
The ex-First Lady, in another statement by Media Assistant Chima Osuji, said although the accounts were opened in 2013, she started operating them in 2014.
The statement said: “Sometime in 2013, following the advice of top officials of the EFCC then in the company of Hon. Wampemo-Owei Dudafa who was the Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to the former President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, that she should not travel oversees with cash, otherwise she may contravene Money Laundering laws, Mrs Patience Jonathan agreed to open accounts with Skye Bank Plc and directed Hon. Dudafa to see to it.
“Hon Dudafa came with two bank managers (officials) of Skye Bank Plc with the account opening forms which she duly signed.
“These accounts were all dollar based Platinum Visa cards in respect of five accounts.
“When the bank officials brought the ATM cards for the said accounts of which she is sole signatory, she discovered to her surprise that only one of these accounts bore her personal name while four were in the names of companies not known to her.
“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.
“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 officials failed to do despite her repeated request.”
Mrs. Jonathan denied allegations that she opened accounts in the names of cooks, drivers and artisans.
The statement said: “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 purpose for these tales by moonlight is to malign our client in the eyes of the misinformed and unsuspecting members of the Nigerian public and beyond and give a semblance of a picture of a hardworking agency bent on fighting corruption and indeed winning the war.
“It is unfortunate that the EFCC, which belongs to all Nigerians, will rather than conduct a painstaking and thorough investigation of cases brought to it, will resort to a greater disposition and propensity to engage in media trials built on outright falsehood and give to innocent persons, including Mrs. Patience Jonathan, the toga of a “thief” or “corrupt” person even before any proper trial.”
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