The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has traced an additional $5m to the Skye Bank account of Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan. This brings to $20m the total amount so far traced to the former first lady.
As part of investigations into a money laundering case against a former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to ex-President Jonathan, Waripamowei Dudafa, the EFCC had traced four company accounts to him with a balance of $15m.
The EFCC subsequently charged Dudafa and the four companies with money laundering.
The four companies, whose accounts have since been frozen, are 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.
A source at the EFCC said, “While we were investigating Dudafa, we traced the four companies to him. The companies have domiciliary accounts at Skye Bank with a balance of about $15m. So, we obtained a court order and froze the accounts.
“We then traced the directors of the companies who then denied ownership of the accounts. It was later that we were informed that the accounts belonged to Patience Jonathan and that she is the sole signatory to the accounts. She was given a special card which she used in making withdrawals across the world.
“We, therefore, wondered why the accounts were not opened in her name if she had nothing to hide. In fact, we later found out that her personal account, which bears her name, has a balance of $5m. One wonders where a person, who has never held a government position, got the money from. She was not our initial target but she certainly has questions to answer.”
Jonathan’s wife has, however, sued Skye Bank for freezing her bank accounts and giving the EFCC vital information about her finances.
Patience filed a N200m fundamental rights enforcement suit against Skye Bank Plc.
One Sammie Somiari, who deposed to an affidavit on behalf of Patience, claimed that the EFCC placed a No Debit Order on the four accounts in July, in the course of probing Dudafa.
The EFCC has now filed an amended 17 counts against Dudafa and seven others, including the four companies, wherein the suspects were accused of conspiring to conceal $15,591,700, which the EFCC claimed they ought to have known formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act.
Somiari said in the affidavit filed on behalf of Patience, who is said to be away for an urgent medical treatment abroad, that it was Dudafa who helped Patience open the four bank accounts which the EFCC froze.
In her fundamental rights suit, Patience is urging the court to compel the EFCC to immediately remove the No Debit Order placed on her accounts.
She also wants the court to order Skye Bank to pay her damages in the sum of N200m for what she termed a violation of her right to own personal property under Section 44 of the Constitution.
However, the EFCC is in moves to arraign Dudafa and his alleged accomplices for money laundering before a Federal High Court in Lagos.
Further proceedings in the case has been adjourned until September 15.