The Skye Bank accounts of Patience Jonathan, former first lady, which contained a total of $15million, were opened with fake identity cards and driving licences, Punch is quoting an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) detective as saying.
EFCC froze four Skye Bank accounts of four companies containing more than $15million in all, and the former president’s wife subsequently claimed ownership of the monies.
She has since emerged as the subject of an EFCC investigation, but she has continued maintaining her innocence — even though the four individuals representing the companies linked with the alleged laundering have pleaded guilty to the charge in court.
The companies – Seagate Property Development & Investment Co. Limited; Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited; Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited and Development Company Limited – pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder $15 million.
Although Patience insists that the money belongs to her and she does not know the companies, directors of the companies are domestic workers of Waripamowei Dudafa, special adviser on domestic affairs to Goodluck Jonathan, the immediate past president.
The commission also froze a fifth Skye Bank account owned by Patience, containing $5million, and is now set to invite her for questioning.
According to Punch, EFCC detectives have already visited the Skye Bank branch on Adeola Hopewell, Victoria Island, where the accounts were opened and has obtained the files containing Patience’s information.
“After three months of investigation, I can confirm to you that we are set to invite Patience Jonathan. We obtained the files from the bank and we realised that those accounts with the $15m were opened with fake identity cards, including driving licences,” the EFCC detective was quoted as saying.
“We took the cards and went to the Federal Road Safety Corps to verify if the cards were authentic. We found out that the cards were fake. So, this is not just money laundering but a clear case of fraud. If they had nothing to hide, why did they go to this length?”
EFCC investigations revealed that the accounts were opened between 2013 and 2014 — although an affidavit by one Sammie Somiari, deposed to on behalf of Patience, claimed that Dudafa helped Patience open the bank accounts in 2010.
According to Somiari, Dudafa brought two Skye Bank officers to meet Patience at home to open five accounts, on March 22, 2010.
He claimed that Patience was the sole signatory to the accounts. He, however, claimed that after the five accounts were opened, Patience later discovered that Dudafa opened only one of the accounts in her name while the other four were opened in the names of companies belonging to Dudafa.