Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s wife, Dame Patience Jonathan may have more explanations to give in the coming days over the discovery of five properties, including a N5billion hotel in Abuja, allegedly traced to her.
The former First Lady, who is currently in court to seek an order mandating the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to unfreeze her bank accounts over suspected money laundering to the tune of over $31million, may have unwittingly, drawn the spotlight of the anti-graft agency on herself.
The EFCC, which is currently studying documents on how the Abuja hotel (names withheld) was built, has also dispatched a crack team of investigators to Yenagoa and Port Harcourt, the capitals of Bayelsa and Rivers State respectively, for the purpose of establishing the ownership of four properties in the two cities.
There is also the likelihood that Mrs. Jonathan may forfeit these properties to the Federal Government once the EFCC is able to prove that they belong to her.
SEE ALSO: EFCC Used Mercenaries To Plead Guilty To Money Laundering Charges – Patience Jonathan
One of the pieces of evidence the anti-graft commission has in its possession in its probe of the ex-First Lady is her cumulative pay and perks as a civil servant in Bayelsa State, where she rose to the post of Permanent Secretary.
It was learnt that the pay details are far below the $31million which Mrs. Jonathan claimed in court documents, as her legitimately and hard-earned money.
However, the EFCC is insisting that the former First Lady must account for how she came about the cash wired into the five accounts to which she is a signatory or forfeit same to the Federal Government.
One of the sources familiar with the probe said the money used in acquiring the properties under investigation appears to be gratification to Mrs. Jonathan when her husband was in power.
The source said: “Based on intelligence report, we have isolated five properties allegedly identified with the ex-First Lady. These properties include a N5billion hotel in Abuja and four others in Yenagoa and Port Harcourt.
“A special team has gone to verify all these assets in the affected areas including the contractors engaged, the mode of payment to them, relevant land registration documents, and associates used as fronts.
“In the next few days, we will start questioning all those involved in the acquisition or building of the assets. We are lucky that this investigation has a lot of e-transaction and computerization components. There is no hiding place for anyone involved.
“If at the end of the day the five assets belong to the ex-First Lady, we will approach the court to place all these assets under Interim Assets Forfeiture in line with Sections 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004”.
Section 28 of the EFCC Act stipulates that: “Where a person is arrested for an offence under this Act, the Commission shall immediately trace and attach all the assets and properties of the person acquired as a result of such economic or financial crime and shall thereafter cause to be obtained an interim attachment order from the Court”.
Section 13 of the Federal High Court Act reads in part: “The Court may grant an injunction or appoint a receiver by an interlocutory order in all cases in which it appears to the Court to be just or convenient so to do.
“Any such order may be made either unconditionally or on such terms and conditions as the Court thinks just”.
Responding to a question, the source said: “If our investigation reveals that the assets are not owned by Mrs. Patience Jonathan, we will return them to their legitimate owners”.