Nigeria’s Former First Lady in $15 Million Scandal

Mark Babatunde September 16, 2016
Former Nigerian First Lady, Patience Jonathan insists the sum of $15 million traced to her accounts is meant to pay her medical bills. Photo credit: Nigerian Monitor

Nigerian former First Lady Patience Jonathan, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, is caught up in a corruption investigation by Nigeria’s anti-graft authorities, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Mrs. Jonathan is being investigated for monies amounting to about $15 million that were found in a number of local bank accounts linked to her.

The Vanguard Newspaper reports that the EFCC has frozen the said accounts, essentially placing it under a No Debit Order.

According to Punch Newspaper, Mrs. Jonathan’s name came up in the course of an investigation in to the financial dealings of Waripamowei Dudafa, a close aid of President Jonathan during his time in office.

EFCC findings revealed that Dudafa had registered several vague companies under the names of his domestic employees. However, further investigation showed that a Skye Bank account held $15 million and Mrs. Jonathan is the sole signatory.

Since then, Mrs. Jonathan has claimed ownership of the accounts, saying the money was specifically meant to take care of her medical bills and other personal expenses whenever she was out of the country.

Through her attorney Granville Abibo, Mrs. Jonathan wrote directly to EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu and Skye Bank, urging him to intervene and lift the restriction to withdrawals enforced on her accounts. In the letter, Abibo described Mrs. Jonathan as a “law-abiding citizen,” adding that the actions of the EFCC were an embarrassment to his client.

“Despite the foregoing, our client, who is a law-abiding citizen, has watched with surprise how efforts are being made surreptitiously to indirectly harass or harangue her and shortchange her of her personal funds in breach of her fundamental human rights.

“We urge you, sir, to kindly intervene to stop the untoward and wrongful actions of your officials to embarrass, inconvenience, and shortchange our client.”

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has revved up the country’s anti-corruption crusade since he took office in May last year. Consequently, a number of high-profile cases involving senior officials from the past administration have gone to the courts. Critics, however, insist that the renewed anti-corruption drive unfairly targets the members of the opposition party.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: June 19, 2018


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