Alleged slush funds accounts belong to my late mum, says Patience Jonathan
•Ex-First Lady says she owns only one of controversial accounts.
PDP Senators rally round her
A twist has occurred in the alleged slush accounts traced to the former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, with claims by her counsel that two of the accounts belonged to her late mother, Madam Charity Fyneface Oba.
The counsel, Mr. Charles Ogboli, also admitted that only three of the five accounts in dispute could be traced to the ex-First Lady and her mum.
But there were indications yesterday that some senators of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held a meeting on Thursday, where they vowed to back the former First Lady in her suit against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the freezing of about $19.8 million in her accounts.
At press time, it was gathered that Mrs. Jonathan was in Abuja where she was strategising on how to win her case.
The ex-First Lady’s counsel spoke on the Channels Television discussion programme, Sunrise.
The defence of the First Lady has also gone viral on YouTube to underscore her readiness for a fight to the finish with EFCC.
Ogboli is however the third lawyer in three weeks to speak on behalf of Mrs. Jonathan.
Ogboli said: “That is not true. The First Lady did not hold five accounts. They are three accounts. The First Lady was the signatory of one account and the mother was a signatory to the other two accounts.
“These accounts were not on a company’s name; it is on a personal data name of the First Lady. If you check, the BVN showed clearly on a personal name.
“And if you go through the BVN, it shows that it is her personal account; it is not connected with the companies facing trial.
“The First Lady was never privy to the companies standing trial. The money that is in the account ($5 million) should be left to the First Lady.”
Responding to a question, Ogboli added: “I am explaining on behalf of the First Lady that this is what transpired.”
He maintained that the former First Lady had protested between 2013 and 2014 against the use of unknown companies to open accounts for her by the former Senior Special Assistant (Domestic / Household and Social Events to the former President), Dr. Dudafa Waripamo-Owei Emmanuel.
He said: “What I am trying to say is that the domestic servant, Dudafa, who was asked to open accounts, went ahead to use a company’s account which the First Lady discovered and said I am not part of this.
“She said ‘I am not a director of this company, neither am I a shareholder. I did not present any certificate of incorporation, I didn’t ask them to open any account using a company or companies’. The discovery was made between 2013 and 2014 and immediately she kicked against it.
“ So, you don’t link her with the company that she does not know anything about.”
As at press time, some PDP Senators had resolved to rally round Mrs. Jonathan in her battle with the EFCC.
A source said: “Some PDP Senators have been meeting on a daily basis on how to give support to Mrs. Jonathan. They even met on Thursday and the battle will involve a bit of propaganda too.
“At the appropriate time, we will reveal the identities of the affected senators based on intelligence report. The corrupt will always protect their own.
“Some of these senators are even the ones bankrolling a part of this battle between the former First Lady and the EFCC.”
A report of the EFCC investigative team had implicated the former First Lady.
The report of the investigative team said in part: “Based on the investigation so far carried out, it has revealed that the four fraudulent VISA Platinum USD Card accounts used by Mrs. Patience Goodluck Jonathan has a cumulative balance of $14,029.881.79 which has been swept Post No Debit Card category.
“Again, her personal account, different from the four fraudulent VISA Platinum USD Card accounts, bears the balance of $5,841,426.17.
“Considering the above stated findings, we can safely conclude that a prima facie case of conspiracy to retain proceeds of unlawful activities, retention of the proceeds of unlawful activities, money laundering contrary to Section 15(3) and 18(a) of the Money Laundering ( Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and forgery contrary to Section 1(2) (c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation, 2004 have been established against the aforementioned suspects.”
The EFCC claimed that all the funds traced to Patience Jonathan’s accounts were proceeds of gratification.
The report said: “The intelligence revealed that Dr. Dudafa Waripamo-Owei Emmanuel fraudulently received various sums of money, being proceeds of gratification and retained same on behalf of the then First Family and for himself .