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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has stepped up its investigation of Dame Patience Jonathan, wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, by freezing her personal account with a balance of $5 million.
As part of investigations into the alleged fraud by former presidential adviser Waripamowei Dudafa, the EFCC had frozen four companies’ accounts in Skye Bank with a balance of $15,591,700.
Although Mrs. Jonathan claimed the money belonged to her, the companies pleaded guilty on arraignment and the anti-graft agency has already begun moves to ensure that the money is forfeited permanently to the Federal Government.
While the agency had initially left her personal account since it bore her name, a source said freezing the account has become necessary due to the prima facie case established against her.
“Recall that we had frozen the four companies’ accounts, which Patience Jonathan later laid claim to. We have been able to establish that the money was part of proceeds of crime,” a source told Punch.
“Initially, we had traced $5m to her personal account, which we did not touch but I can confirm to you now that the $5m account, bearing Patience Jonathan’s name, has also been seized since she claimed that the monies in the company accounts and the one in her personal name all emanated from the same source..”
Mrs. Jonathan, however, has appealed to the EFCC to release the accounts which she claims are for her medical treatment abroad.
In a letter written by her lawyers, Granville Abibo (SAN) and Co, Patience said, “It is noteworthy to emphasise that the said accounts, which were in US dollar denomination, were card-based accounts and our client is the sole signatory of these accounts.
“However, our client has been operating the said accounts using the cards for her medical bill payments and purchases for her private purposes without any let or hindrance.
“Our client was therefore surprised when the said cards stopped functioning on July 7, 2016 or thereabout. Our client immediately thereupon contacted Skye Bank Plc through our solicitors. It was only then that the bank officials informed our client that the said accounts were placed on a ‘No Debit Order’ following investigations and instructions from your commission and this is without notice to our client by either the bank or the commission.
“It is in the light of the foregoing that we urge you to use your good offices to vacate the ‘No Debit/Freezing Order’ placed on the said accounts.”