The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has discovered new evidence against Esther Oba, a cousin of former First Lady Patience Jonathan. The anti-graft agency began investigating Ms. Oba after revealing that she was the one of the owners of Mrs. Jonathan’s N9b bank accounts.
“After we froze Patience Jonathan’s accounts a few months ago, we continued to investigate the former First Lady. We then stumbled on some accounts which did not bear her name but had her signature,” an EFCC source disclosed to Punch Newspaper.
“We realized that one Esther Oba, who we believe is Patience’s cousin, had been operating some accounts for her. The accounts had Oba’s BVN but carried Patience’s signature. So we began investigating Oba,” the source explained.
The EFCC discovered that Ms. Oba used two separate passports when handling the accounts. Both passports have the same name, but curiously have two separate signatures. The EFCC subsequently contacted the Nigeria Immigration Service, who confirmed that the passports are valid.
Despite the confirmation, the EFCC said the two passports would undergo a forensic analysis, as Ms. Oba’s signature and that of Mrs. Jonathan “look exactly alike.”
“Immigration confirmed that the two passports are indeed valid. They bear the same name, picture and details but different signatures,” the EFCC source said. “So, they have also launched an investigation into the matter. Obviously, this is a case of fraud.”
The EFCC froze the accounts belonging to Ms. Oba and five companies in December 2016 under the suspicion that they held the proceeds of Mrs. Jonathan’s crimes. The five companies collectively held over N7.4b.
In July of the same year, the EFCC froze four companies’ accounts with a total balance of $15b.
The former First Lady has insisted that the whopping sum belongs to her and that she has committed no crime.