Nigeria’s former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, of presenting unknown persons as representatives of the four companies that pleaded guilty to money laundering charges preferred against them by the anti-graft agency yesterday.
The companies are: Pluto Properties and Investment Company, Seagate Property Development Company, Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Ltd, and Avalon Global Property Ltd.
The EFCC on Thursday charged the companies, alongside three other people – former domestic aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Warpamo-Owei Dudafa; Amajuoyi Briggs, and Adedamola Bolodeoku (a former official of Skye Bank) – who before a Federal High Court in Lagos for money laundering to the tune of $15, 591, 700.
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The anti-graft agency alleged that the accused had between November 13, 2013 and June 2015, used the different companies to commit the offences.
They were also alleged to have conspired to retain the over $15m, which they ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of crime.
While the four companies, represented in court yesterday by Friday David (Pluto), Agbor Obaro (Seagate), Fredrick Dioghowori (Trans Ocean) and Taiwo Ebenezer (Avalon), pleaded guilty to money laundering, the trio of Dudafa, Briggs and Bolodeoku, pleaded not guilty.
In her immediate reaction, the former First Lady pointed out that representatives of the companies did not show any letter from their respective boards authorizing them to appear in the case.
A statement by Mrs. Jonathan’s media aide, Chima Osuji said: “This is a clear evidence of the desperation of the prosecution to pull down the former first lady and confiscate her hard-earned money.
According to Osuji, “It is an irony. It was the former first lady who went to court for the repatriation of her confiscated money when she realized that the EFCC and its co-travellers were playing politics with this issue, after she had come out publicly to say that the said money belongs to her and that she had all evidence to prove the sources of her money. Up till this very moment, EFCC has refused to interrogate or invite her for questioning”.
The statement added: “Mrs. Jonathan is not a director, shareholder, promoter and/or participant in any of the four companies now under trial, and she was the sole signatory to all the said accounts, contrary to the fabrication that she used her driver and cook as proxies”.
The media aide stressed that Mrs Jonathan had denied ever receiving monies from any unknown sources into her accounts and that the accounts were opened in order to facilitate her travel overseas particularly for medical treatment and sundry purchases for herself and her late mother, Mrs. Charity Oba (Mama Sisi).