– Patience Jonathan has written to the EFCC to lift the restriction on her account
– The former first lady claimed the account which contained $31.4 million was for paying her medical bills and personal expenses
– The EFCC froze the account on corruption-related investigation
Patience Jonathan has written to Ibrahim Magu, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) explaining that the $31.4 million found in her account is for her medical expenses.
The former first lady had initially filed a suit against the anti-graft agency after the account linked to her was frozen.
The Guardian reports that the account is being fingered as one of those involved in an alleged fraud case before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos but Mrs Jonathan’s counsel, Gboyega Oduwole has filed a case before the court, informing that his client is unhappy with the EFCC over the recent move to freeze the account.
Former first lady of Nigeria, Patience Jonathan has begged Ibrahim Magu, EFCC chairman
Amajuoyi Azubike Briggs, an ex-presidential aide; Damola Bolodeoku, a former Skye Bank official; Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited and Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited had all been charged to court over their individual involvement in the fraudulent activities with companies without address.
Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Limited; Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited, Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited and Globus Integrated Services Limited were also charged with the same offence.
Vanguard however reports that Patience has now changed tactic and wrote directly to the EFCC boss asking for the sanction on her account to be lifted.
In a letter through her lawyer, Sammie Somiari, the former first lady explained to Magu that she was a law-abiding citizen and used the account to pay for her medical bills and personal expenses.
“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 to these accounts.
“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 stop 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 instruction from your commission and this is without notice to our client by either the bank or the commission.
Ibrahim Magu, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes 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.”
“Despite the foregoing, our client, who is a law-abiding citizen, has watched with surprise how efforts are being made surreptitiously to indirectly harass or harangue her and short-change her of her personal funds in breach of her fundamental human rights.
“We urge you sir, to kindly intervene to stop the untoward and wrongful actions of your officials to embarrass, inconvenience and short-change our client.”
It will be recalled that in February, 2013 while Goodluck Jonathan was still president, Patience had said she was affected by health challenges and that she underwent seven surgery operations within one month and the doctors had given up hope on her survival.
She claimed she even died but later woke up.
“I remember when Chief Obasanjo was the President of the country, I was close to his late wife, Stella. We worshiped together in this chapel. It was a painful moment for me that time when she (Stella) died and her corpse was brought here.
“That was how my corpse would have been brought here.
It was not an easy experience for me. I actually died, I passed out for more than a week. My intestine and tummy were opened. “I am not Lazarus but my experience was similar to his.
My doctors said all hope was lost.
“A black doctor in London who is with us in this service was flown in when the situation became critical. It was God himself in His infinite mercy that said I will return to Nigeria. God woke me up after seven days.
“I know that some people somehow leaked the information that I was dead. They are people that I trust and rely on; to them, I was dead and I would never return to the country alive. Some of them even sold my things off.
“I won’t say everything here. It is the Lord’s doing that I returned alive. When God says yes, nobody can say no.
“People are always afraid of operation (surgery) but in my own case, while my travail lasted, I was begging for it (surgery) after the third operation because I was going to the theatre everyday.”
Meanwhile, the EFCC arrested a driver, houseboy and two other domestic staff working with for Mrs Jonathan.
An EFCC source said: “What we have noticed is that in order to conceal funds, what politicians and top civil servants do is to open bank accounts in the name of family or friends and then make themselves the sole signatory to the account.
“Don’t forget that we traced about 17 bank accounts to the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.).
“Often times, they do this in connivance with bank officials and that is why the EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has said henceforth, whenever we are investigating a bank official, we will probe the entire bank as well because these officials usually act under the instruction of their superiors.