Ex-First Lady to EFCC: “Let’s Settle”
Former First Lady Mrs Patience Jonathan is a shopping freak – going by facts and figures unveiled by detectives.
She blew thousands of dollars at highbrow stores. The cash came from $11,849,069.03, which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said 31 individuals and companies paid into her two domiciliary accounts.
Dame P. Jonathan
The Skye Bank account had about $7,452,319.32 lodged in it. Detectives found $4,036,750.00 in the second account with First Bank.
According to The Nation’s report, the ex-First Lady allegedly spent the cash at TFS stores, Selfridges, John Lewis, Kingsgate, Sainsbury’s, Harrods, Marks and Spencer, Dolce and Gabbana, and Gina.
She went on a shopping spree in expensive outlets in the United States, Britain, Germany, Hong Kong, UAE, Italy and China.
The highest shopping was at Goyard Beijing in Beijing CN on January 28, 2014, where Mrs. Jonathan shelled out $28,388.72.
On the same day at Hulian Xinguang Beijing CN, she blew $13,069.68 on some luxury items.
There were transactions traced to Oakham School, Natwest Bank and $26, 228. 18 spent at Hotel Nassaeur HOF Wishbaden DE on November 20, 2015.
Perhaps overwhelmed by the EFCC probe and its likely consequences, the ex-First Lady has applied for an out-of-court settlement with the EFCC.
In “a major breakthrough by EFCC with international collaboration” detectives found that about $7,452,319.32 suspicious funds were deposited in the ex-First Lady’s account with number 2110001712 between 8th February 2013 and 7th April 2015.
The account was opened on September 12, 2013 by a former Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan Hon. Dudafa Waripamo Owei depositing $1,948,400.00.
About 23 other individuals, including the ex-First Lady allegedly deposited cash into the account as follows: Festus Iyoha ($287,100.000); Ocheche Emmanuel ($150,000); Philemon Buoro ($150,000); Festus Isidahomen ($100,000); Felicia Apatake ($148,900); Patricia Okogun ($ 99,700); Buoro Ojo ($400,000); Stella Wasiu ($250,000); Amaka Adebayo ($250,000); Segun Moses ($249,400); Jimoh Peter ($246,700); Ahmed Musa ($196,400); Ibrahim Musa($198,300); Dame P. Jonathan ($100,000); Ayemere Sunday ($ 250,000); Eneji A.P ($300,000); Johnson Ojo ($300,000); Mary Buoro ($400,000); Jude Bosede ($500,000); Festus Iyoha ($400,000); Jimoh Moses ($400,000) and Ahmed Musa ($100,000).
“The balance in this account as at 9th September 2016 was about $5,831,173.55,” the EFCC said.
The second account was opened on February 22, 2013 at First Bank.
Cash deposits were made into the account between 26th February 2013 and 30th April, 2017 which altogether was $4,036,750.
Apart from the ex-First Lady who deposited $2,037,650 in nine tranches, other lodgments ranged from $98,900 to $400,000.
The former SA Domestic, Dudafa Waripamo Owei, led the pack of depositors on 27th February 2013 with a deposit of $400,000. Other depositors are: Germaine ($100,000); Dudafa ($400,000); Germani ($200,000); Ade Suleiman ($200,000); Mohammed Adamu ($300,000); Francis Muhd ($300,000); Kunle Peter ($200,000); Suleiman Ade ($299,900,00) and Jonathan Patience ($2,037,650).
“Detectives traced the transactions pattern placed the card holder in various countries to United States, Great Britain, Germany, Hong Kong, UAE and Italy.
The card was allegedly used in highbrow shops, such as Marks and Spencer, Kingsgate, Natwest Bank, Gina stores and Harrods.
“ The balance in this account as at 9th September 2016 was $3,691,145.48.”
A source in EFCC said: “We have gone far in our investigation of the ex-First Lady to prove that it is not a case of witch-hunt in any manner whatsoever. We are already trying to verify the names of the depositors if they really existed or they are fake.
“Since we have uncovered all these suspicious deposits, we only need her to account in court on how she came about them. Our crack teams worked day and night to trace these funds.
“With international collaboration, there is no hiding place for Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) because some of these malls sometimes report suspicious transactions or spending. They marvelled at where top Nigerian political office holders and their spouses got the cash being lavished.”
The former First Lady, however, seems to be tired of litigation over her fortune. In a January 30, 2018 letter, titled “Proposal for out-of-Court Settlement of all cases related to Dame (Mrs.) Ibifaka Patience Jonathan,” she told the EFCC of her intention to settle the matter.
The letter, which was written by her counsel, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), is being considered by the EFCC.
The letter said: “As senior counsel, representing Dame (Mrs.) Patience Jonathan (former First Lady) and companies linked to her and some family members, associates, companies and NGOs, we have thought it fit to engage your commission in a discussion over all issues involving her and the commission with a view to having amicable resolution of all cases as stated above.
“This will enable both sides create an atmosphere for mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence. We will therefore appreciate it, if you can give us an appointment at your earliest convenience to have a discussion over all matters involving her and members of her family.
“We believe that an amicable settlement will be in the best interest of both your commission and our client.
“We assure you of our utmost commitment and sincerity of purpose in this connection, and we solicit your cooperation in this regard. Please, accept the assurances of our warm regards.”
Another EFCC source said: “We have received a letter from the ex-First Lady, we are studying it on whether or not to accept the out-of-court settlement or allow justice to take its course.”
Apart from the cash, the ex-First Lady is linked to 12 choice properties and a plot of land on which a building is being built.
The investigative team had recommended that Section 7 of the EFCC Establishment Act 2004 be invoked on the properties after due verification.
The assets linked to Mrs. Jonathan in Port Harcourt are: Former Customs Service officers mess; two duplexes at 2/3 Bauchi Street; landed property with blocks at Ambowei Street; 3 Luxury apartments of 4-bedroom each at Ambowei Street; and Grand View Hotel along airport road.
In Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, are two marble duplexes at Otioko GRA by Isaac Boro Expressway; Glass House along Sani Abacha Expressway which is housing Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board; Akemfa Etie Plaza by AP filling Station, Melford Okilo Road; and Aridolf Resort, Wellness and Spa on Sani Abacha Expressway.